3rd graders transform their classroom into a rainforest

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- For the next few days, there will be more than one rainforest in the City of Topeka. 3rd grade students at Topeka Collegiate School transformed their classroom into an incredible imitation of a real rainforest.

Upon walking into the room you will step onto the rainforest floor covered by actual mulch and immediately be surrounded by the recordings of real animals. Sounds such as the deep croaking of toads to the cacophony of insects fill the room. The room is decorated with real plants, a working fountain, and a number of hand-crafted animals.

The rainforest, which took a week to create, is part of a large lesson about the conservation of the rainforest in Marilyn Kido’s 3rd grade geography class. For weeks, students researched and crafted animals that they hand-picked to present on the tours.

Animals chosen by students ranged from the popular gorilla and white tiger to a much lesser known praying mantis species that was discovered just three years ago.

Talking to the students, not only did they have fun creating a rainforest, but learning about the importance of the habitat.

“Chocolate, cocoa beans, and coffee grows in the rain forest,” said 3rd grader Michael Wilson. “We wouldn’t have those products if we didn’t have rainforests.”

The elaborate rainforest is a class project lead by Marilyn Kido that has grown each year she has brought it back.

“We try to reuse everything every year and each year we will add something, but the whole goal is to conserve, so we conserve our rainforest too.”

The school encourages visitors to see the student-led tour for themselves. If you are interested, contact the school.

Tours of the rainforest are being run during school hours (8:30-3:30 p.m.) through next Tuesday, April 21st.

In addition to the rainforest and to celebrate Earth Day, the school is staging a Trash-to Treasure contest on Tuesday, April 25th from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Students will create magnificent designs using recycled or reused materials. If you would like to judge the designs, contact Marilyn Kido at mkido@topekacollegiate.org.