Rainforest Journey
by EdTechLens

Price at time of review: depends on # of students ($50-$300)

Grade Level: K-5

Reviewed by Teri Cosentino
6th-7th grade science teacher

Rainforest Journey is e–learning at its very best. It is an online science curriculum, tailored to a K– 5 audience, focusing around five essential units: the Big Picture of the Rainforest, Adapt or Die, Animals, Plants and Fungi, and Ecosystems. There is a sixth section called Primary Sources which includes expert interviews and trip journals.

All of the K– 5 school years contain the same six units. But as the age of the student increases, so does the skill development and content. This system of learning connects motivating student content with extensive teaching tracking assessments. It joins the power of individualized student learning to teacher evaluation. Fabulous pictures, amazing facts, and current research connect the essential topics with lessons and include sections on vocabulary, illustrations, and activities.

There is a content reading component of the lessons which can be used by the non–reader or the ESL student. However, I am finding that even my 5th graders who are readers do choose to have the e–books read to them as they follow along; and in some cases, the result is that they are better able to recall information. The range of student abilities, which can all be reached through utilization of all of these multimedia tools, is quite appealing. There are also really top–notch, up–to–date video clips and slide shows depicting highly interesting, fascinating, yet strangely weird plant and animal adaptations. Truly, I learned many things about the rainforest that I could not ever imagine existed. After exploring the options, with the sights and sounds, I felt like I had traveled to a rainforest.

One of my problems with other e–learning products has been trying to figure out how to go from page to page. So I was quite delighted that maneuvering around these e–learning web pages was not only easy, but more importantly quite intuitive. Don’t worry, there is even a tutorial offered! Focusing on individualized student outcomes is paramount to good teaching. Having assessment software built into the content makes it easier and quicker to see what students grasp immediately, or need more time on.

This program has it all: ease, clarity, student growth objectives, links to NGSS and Common Core standards, real–life applications, expansive content, and assessment opportunities. What sets it apart from other e–learning programs is that you can see it was developed with not only creative foresight, but with careful evaluation and with a whole ‘lotta’ love focused on allowing students to venture from their world into the unique, quickly disappearing world of the rainforest.

Review posted on 2/22/2016

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