Magazine article MultiMedia Schools

Rainforest Designer

Magazine article MultiMedia Schools

Rainforest Designer

Article excerpt

Company: Tom Snyder Productions, 80 Coolidge Hill Road, Watertown, MA 02472-5003; Phone: 800/342-0236; Fax: 800/304-1254; Web site: http://www. tomsnyder.com/.

Price: $60-single copy. $200-license for five computers. $350-license for 10 computers. $700-unlimited network license. $800-unlimited site license.

Audience: Publisher suggests grades 2-6; reviewer recommends grades 2-4.

Format: Mac/Wm CD-ROM; teacher's guide.

System Requirements: Macintosh: Power PC or higher, system 7.5 or later, 16 MB RAM.

IBM-compatible: Pentium or higher, Windows 95 or later, 16 MB RAM.

Both platforms: 256 color monitor, 2x CD-ROM drive or higher, printer (preferably color).

Description: Rainforest Designer is a production tool for elementary students to use to demonstrate their understanding of rainforest environments. With it, children may create, print, cut out, and glue together dioramas, posters, and models using more than 100 stamp art pictures and many variations of several rainforest environments. The finished products may be used for additional interactive learning. Review Comments:

Installation: The program may be installed on the hard drive or used directly from the CD-ROM. No problems were encountered on either the Mac or Win platform. Installation Rating: A

Content/Features: The latest of Tom Snyder's construction kits offers teachers and children new ways to present content from the ever-popular rainforest unit.

This easy-to-use program opens with an inviting, uncluttered pictorial menu. Students may start with a ready-made habitat, create their own habitat with the stamp art provided, or begin with a blank format.

The ready-made environments have more than 20 variations, focusing on plant life, mammals, birds, or amphibians; some with labels, some without; some spanning all forest layers, some featuring the canopy, the floor, or the emergent layer. Deforestation and indigenous village choices are also available.

Several selections relate to lesson plans that include pop-ups, I Spy for protective coloring, and What's for Lunch (reinforcing food chain instruction). Although these sections are ready to go and may be printed and assembled as is, they also have most of the same creation tools available for customizing.

Students creating their own environments click on "Make a Habitat" and choose a background and format. Once printed, a 20"x10"x7" diorama (imagine a size 16 shoe box) can depict a vertical view of the rainforest from floor through canopy to emergent layer. Placed horizontally, the same format could be a close-up of one section-- or a wide view of the whole forest. Specific scenes-a waterfall or stream-- can be added, or the student can start from scratch and choose the drawing tool. Plants, amphibians, birds, mammals, people, bulldozers, and so forth specific to the chosen scene can be added or placed on the desktop for future use.

Included are the standard report repertoire: quetzl, kinkajou, tapir, poison dart frog, etc. This stamp art may be enlarged, repositioned, or mirrored, leading to some interesting lessons in perspective and math. There is also a font tool for labeling, captioning, and some word processing-and the scene may be changed from night to day, as well.

Once completed, the environment may be printed as a diorama, poster, or puppet stage; in small, medium, or large sizes; and in black and white, gray, or color. …

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