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Cedar Ridge students build rainforest in class

May 07, 2001

Cedar Ridge students build rainforest in class



By ANDREA BROWN-HURLEY

andreabh@herald-mail.com

WILLIAMSPORT - Some students at Cedar Ridge School near Williamsport are learning four Rs - reading, 'riting, 'rithmatic and rainforests.

Students in Selina Grogg's fourth- and fifth-grade class built a realistic-looking rainforest in their classroom as part of their history studies.

Trees with rolled butcher paper trunks and construction paper leaves tower over about one-quarter of the room. A paper waterfall flows from the forest's far corner into a still river teeming with fish, frogs, lily pads and predatory snake.

The forest floor is littered with leaves, and the understory layer holds lush ferns, toucans and swinging monkeys. More stuffed, plastic and paper critters lurk in the rainforest's canopy and emergent layers.

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The boys recently discussed their project during a presentation for family and faculty members.

They read from detailed reports, reciting information they'd found about rainforest products, weather data, wildlife and plant growth. Then they eagerly gave tours through their manmade jungle.

"It's a lot of fun in here," said Preston, 10. "It's fun because you get to meet a lot of animals like this guy here," he said, pointing to a primate. "He's a friendly monkey."

Preston said he crafted four of the many giant anaconda snakes in the rainforest.

Andy, 11, said he enjoyed making the paper toucans that perched on branches in the jungle. He also liked learning more about the parrot snake, which "keeps the amphibian population down," he said.

Jeremy, 11, gave facts about the poison arrow frog. His classmate, Alvin, talked about how the harpy eagle can lift a giant sloth clinging to a tree branch.

Grogg said that, in addition to teaching her students about Earth's oldest ecosystems, the project helped them learn important lessons about cooperation and decision-making.

The boys worked in pairs to research and write reports about the four different layers of the rainforest. The whole group then cooperated to construct the three-dimensional jungle display.

Each student also did a report on a rainforest creature of his choice, Grogg said.

"It took a lot to build this thing," she said. "Everybody had to work together."

It's an accomplishment in which the Cedar Ridge students should take great pride, Grogg said.

Cedar Ridge caters to boys ages 7 to 18 who have had serious problems in other schools. The special school provides educational intervention through a highly structured environment and strong behavioral management system, Education Director Ann Marklund said.

The private, nonprofit Cedar Ridge Children's Home and School Inc. also runs a residential facility for emotionally troubled and abused boys, a Christian radio station and Adventure Programs.

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