Electronic Learning
How Much Rain in a Rain Forest?

Activity: Students compare the annual rainfall of the world’s major ecosystems, then create a bar graph comparing the annual rainfall of the Amazon rain forest to the annual rainfall in different regions of the United States. They will apply graph skills to see how rainfall varies in different ecosystems and parts of the world.

  1. Review the definition of ecosystem with your students. (If your class has not studied ecosystems, you could use the term environment.) An ecosystem is a group of living things—plants and animals—and the environment in which they live. Explain that the rain forest is a type of ecosystem, like the grasslands, the desert, or the tundra.

  2. Tell the class that one way in which rain forests are unlike other ecosystems is the amount of rain they receive every year.

  3. Explore the “Biomes of the World” site, which compares rainfall in different ecosystems, or biomes. How much rain does the tropical rain forest receive compared with the temperate deciduous forests? (Deciduous forests are like those in the eastern United States, with trees that change colors in fall, lose their leaves in winter, and bloom again in spring.) Which two ecosystems receive the least amount of rainfall every year?

  4. Now have students go to the “Amazon Interactive” site and find out how much rainfall your region of the country receives every year. Click on the nine different U.S. regions and use the data to create a bar graph comparing the rainfall of different regions of the United States and the Amazon rain forest. Which area of the U.S. receives the most rainfall each year? How does this amount compare with the Amazon rain forest’s annual rainfall?
On-Line Theme Unit






Biomes of the World: Rainfall in Different Ecosystems

Amazon Interactive: Rainfall in the U.S.