Hot and Humid, That's Manu
Objectives of the Lesson
Objectives of the Lesson:
Experience the heat and humidity of Manu in a classroom.
Construct a tent and use a humidifier to recreate the Manu
- Write a reflection paper of what it is like to live in the Manu
- Measure the humidity in the classroom created rainforest
The rainforest is a very hot and humid place to travel or live.
The humidity is very difficult to become accustomed too. Travelers from
cooler climates have difficulty in walking through the jungle with the
constant heat, humidity and rain. Humidity can be measured with a sling
psychrometer. This is a wet bulb, dry bulb thermometer. Psychrometers can
be constructed or purchased. In that they are very inexpensive, it is
easier for the classroom teacher to purchase a class set for student use.
(Personal experience, Travel to the Peruvian Rainforest, three visits by
Dwight Sieggreen, Science Teacher, Northville Public Schools) The hot humid air "hits" the moment you exit the airplane onto the tarmac. The air feels heavy with moisture and odors. (Kim Sneden, Director of Education, Detroit Zoological Society, Traveler to the Peruvian Rainforest,1994.)
- A copy of the PBS program, The Living Edens: "Manu, Peru's Hidden Rain Forest" (Air date November 12, 1997 on PBS. If you miss this program, you can order the video.)
- Downloaded diagram of apparatus setup: setup
- Humidifier, hot or cold available from most department stores
- Table, large enough for 4-5 children to sit under during the activity
- Clear plastic covering , enough to cover the table you choose to the floor
- Optional Sling psychrometer (Can be purchased at most science supply stores for about $6)
- Books to hold plastic covering secure
- Water for Humidifier and electrical outlet.
Caution: Always be careful with electricity and water!
- Paper/pencil for reflective paper
- Student science journals
- View The Living Edens: "Manu, Peru's Hidden Rain Forest" program in class. Discuss the jungle environment, focus specifically the heat and humidity. Prior to the showing of the film, discuss humidity in Manu. Ask students to look for instances that might show the forest is very humid. (Example: lush plant life)
- Place clear plastic covering over table to the floor.
- Cut a 36 inch slice in the plastic covering on each side of the
table for entry and exit.
Caution: This is also necessary for ventilation.
- Cut a small hole for the humidifier vent and place it on a chair
so that the humidifier is elevated from the classroom floor. This will
allow humid air to be pumped in and create a humid environment.
Caution: Be sure that humidifier is kept clean and dry before and after use
to prevent bacteria from growing. Also some additional vent slices should
be cut in plastic for additional ventilation. Download a diagram of this setup here: setup
- Have students enter the tent, spend about 1-2 minutes in the tent
and experience the high humidity under the table. (Optional) Have
students use a sling psychrometer to measure the humidity inside
the tent. Have students exit the tent and the next group will then
- Measure the humidity after the humidifier has been running for
about 15 minutes or so using the sling psychrometer. (Optional) Collect
this data and record in student science journals
- Have students calculate the humidity from the data collected on the sling psychrometer and record in student science journals. (See instructions as to how to do this which come with the sling psychrometer.) (Optional)
- Have students write a reflective paper which describes their experience in the high humidity environment. Address issues of what it is like to breathe, what happened to clothing, what did it
feel like to exit the environment.
Discuss the experience with students and get their responses. After discussion, provide materials for a reflective paper on the experience.
You may wish to have some students read the paper to the class.
Optional activity: Have students calculate the humidity using a sling psychrometer in teams of 4-5; the same groups that experience the humidity as a team. As each group takes a reading on the sling psychrometer, record the data and calculate the humidity. After all groups have gone through the tent and calculated humidity, compare data collected.
All of the above activity can be done with elementary level students. The reflective paper will be the major difference between the elementary level and middle level. Calculating the humidity using data from the sling psychrometer and the information sheet for use is difficult for elementary students.
The secondary extension will be visit a rainforest exhibit at a local science museum, aquarium or zoo. The teacher can try to arrange a meeting with experts in rainforest science to speak to the group. Students can try to recreate the same humidity level as found in Manu after research on this
data. Additionally, students might try to vary the use of the humidifier
to change the level of humidity and record and analyze the data.