Don’t Miss These Teaching Extras for This Month's Paired Texts

By Lauren Salisbury
August 9, 2019

We can’t wait for your students to dig into the paired texts feature in the September issue of Scope. A narrative nonfiction article, “How to Save a Baby Orangutan,” and an infographic, “Why We Need Rainforests,” explore the urgent problem of rainforest deforestation. After reading the article and the infographic with your class, explore the resources below to keep your students' learning going.

Essential Questions
Post these questions in your classroom for students to refer to as they explore the resources:

  • Why are rainforests valuable?
  • How do humans impact the natural world?
  • Why should we care about things that happen in faraway places?

6 resources to keep the learning going:

Watch a video.

Check out this incredible (and adorable) video showing orangutans learning to climb at the Four Paws Forest School.

Orphaned orangutans learn to climb

Watch a short documentary film.

This award-winning  film (16:59) from National Geographic transports your students to the vanishing rainforests of Borneo and explores the unique cultural behaviors of wild orangutans.


  • What sticks with you from this film? What does it make you want to know more about?
  • In the film, Richard Wrangham says, “We stand so much to gain and we stand so much to lose.” What does he mean?
  • In the film, what does Cheryl Knott mean when she says, “You can’t protect what you don’t know”? How might we help “bring the rainforest to people”?
  • Reread the sidebar “5 Ways Orangutans Are Just Like Us." What is another way that orangutans are "just like us"?
Person of the Forest

Explore a multimedia story.

On computers, tablets, or smartphones, have students explore this stunning webpage about the Tembé tribe in the central Amazon. They use old cell phones to detect the sounds of chainsaws and trucks in order to fight illegal logging in the rainforest. Make sure students turn on the sound for the best experience as they explore maps, interview clips, photographs, slideshows, forest sounds, and the beautiful short film “Beneath the Canopy” (6:06) located at the bottom of the page.


Go on a Google Earth voyage.

Go on an interactive tour of the Amazon rainforest using map-based stories from Google Earth. Click on “Discover Your Connection.” Then click on the “I am WATER,” “I am CHANGE,” or “I am FOOD” story to learn about the rapid change of the rainforest, how deforestation impacts the entire world, and what we can do about it.

NOTE: You will need to download the most recent version of your brower in order to use Google Earth.


Listen to a podcast.

This podcast episode tells the story of two Girl Scouts who raised awareness about endangered orangutans and in the process ended up launching a campaign against the use of unsustainable palm oil in Girl Scout Cookies.


  • In “How to Save a Baby Orangutan,” Mackenzie Carro writes, “Preuschoft points out that protecting orangutans benefits more than just orangutans.” How does this podcast episode support this idea?
  • What can Rhiannon and Madison’s story teach us about not giving up? How can we “turn up the volume” on issues we care about?

Associated Press/Anonymous

Check out a webpage.

On page 18 of “How to Save a Baby Orangutan,” Mackenzie Carro writes, “If you want to help orangutans, here’s what conservation organizations like the Rainforest Action Network suggest: Write to your favorite brands and ask them what they are doing to ensure the palm oil in their products is being produced in a way that does not harm rainforests.”

Explore the Rainforest Action Network’s conflict palm oil page to learn more about palm oil and its human and environmental costs as well as to read a rundown of the biggest palm oil companies. You’ll find tips for letterwriting, phone, and social media campaigns. Students may also find this palm oil fact sheet to be a useful resource.

Dede Sudiana /

Read an article about the fires currently burning in the Amazon.

This article helps explain the Amazon fires and how world leaders are responding.


  • What is causing the fires in the Amazon?
  • Why are the fires in the Amazon a global issue?
  • How are various world leaders responding to the fires?
  • What connections can you make between what’s happening in the Amazon and Carro’s article and the infographic?

Leo Correa / Associated Press

3 engaging activities about the importance of rainforests:

  1. Why are rainforests an important part of our environment, and why should they be protected? Answer in an essay, drawing on the article, the infographic, and two other sources.
  2. Retell Gerhana’s story from Gerhana’s point of view. Imagine how he must have felt and what he must have thought about his experiences.
  3. Imagine that you are a journalist and you’re going to interview Dr. Signe Preuschoft about her work with orangutans at the Four Paws Forest School. Make a list of questions you will ask her.
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