One of the photos in last week’s Connection offered a prequel to today’s article, revealing Jen’s classroom adorned with paper vines, snakes, sloths, leaves, monkeys and lizards. The transformation of her room into a rainforest has been the ongoing process of her latest unit, which introduced the 1-2 students to the fine arts of research and writing in reaction to non-fiction texts. The project featured student choice as the centerpiece, as each student first selected an animal indigenous to rainforests, then used their own individual enthusiasm as the driving motivator to develop applied skills: effective research and paraphrasing while avoiding plagiarism, summarization of key information within written paragraphs, and a deep understanding of the subject matter translated to oral presentation. Within the larger process, students used their creativity in producing replica habitats for their chosen animals, navigated online tools including Google, FlipGrid, Padlet, and various maps, visited Howelsen Library to check-out books on their chosen subjects, and consulted with experts over Zoom, such as the Toucan Rescue Ranch in Costa Rica. Jen even brought in food to help them comprehend detailed descriptions; they consumed salsa and rice cakes while pondering ‘spicy’ and bland wording, both within the books they were reading and in their own paragraphs. It was a complete immersion. In Art class, Keri supplemented their studies with a lesson on French painter Henri Rousseau; students applied his concepts to their own renderings, using mixed media collage to create 3-D pop-ups from 2-D backgrounds. In Math, they worked on Rainforest-based word problems. And in Spanish class, Josh helped them to articulate ideas about their animals bilingually. The students then completed culminating projects in three facets: a poster displaying key features of their animal and including vocabulary terms, a non-fiction book for which they devoted differing chapters to habitat, diagrams, and interesting facts, and finally a diorama to display their animal’s habitat in 3-D. Each student presented their complete project to the larger class, fielded questions, and revealed their developed mastery. Their results suggest that perhaps Sir Conan Doyle was right after all: that what distinguishes the students from the animals they researched is their ongoing quest for immortality.