From the Kitchen to the Medicine Cabinet, the Rainforest is Everywhere
Grade Level: K-4
Duration: 15-20 minutes
Materials: See below
Objective: In this activity the students will be introduced to a variety of products that come from the tropical rainforest and what they look like in their original form. This activity should demonstrate the interconnectedness of the global food market.
Method: Using the list of products, try to find as many products as possible in their original form (whole coffee beans, nutmeg, etc.) and present them to the students. Take them on a tour of their medicine cabinet or the list of ingredients in a brownie recipe. Ask them many questions; possibly the students have some idea of the types of food grown in the rainforest. Questions such as: What are the ingredients in a brownie recipe? How many of those ingredients do you think come from the rainforest? etc. We usually bring different whole spices for the students to smell, and other products that the student's family might use daily: soap, make-up, aspirin, cough syrup, etc.
Only one percent of the known plant and animal species have been thoroughly examined for their medicinal potentials.
-"Economic value of one acre in the Peruvian Amazon: $6,820 if intact forest is sustainably harvested for fruits, latex, and timber
Cattle Company facts: In the U.S., one head of cattle grazes on 2.5 acres for 6 years. In the Amazon, one cow grazes on 7.5 acres of land for 6 years. Annual meat production in the Amazon is 278 lbs. per acre without fertilizers. In Europe the annual meat production is l.5 tons per acre without fertilizers.
Lumber Company facts: Between 1975 and 1985 Brazil's log production increased from 160 million cubic ft. per year to 700 million cubic ft. per year. Five trees account for 90% of Brazil's Amazonian tree exports. (For more information, see RAN's facts sheets.)