Teaching Science at Home
We chose to start with the grasslands of the world because we live in a grassland. We could walk outside and see what we were studying and our local zoo is filled with grassland animals. Our method was to read books, go to the zoo, and make a lap book of what we learned.
First, the books. I picked up all of the books at our local library. Links to the books are provided, but numerous good books exist on this topic; if you wish to do your own biome study start with your own library and see what they have!
A Grassland Habitat by Bobbie Kalman (Perfect introductory book to get us started.)
Here Is the African Savanna by Madeleine Dunphy (This was my daughter’s favorite! It is a fun poem with good information about the animals and plants in the poem.)
Out on the Prairie by Donna M. Bateman (Another favorite at out house.)
Grasslands by Susan H. Gray (I was able to pull copywork for my son from this book! Lots of fun facts! This is also part of a series. Sadly, our library is selling them off, but I have grabbed some from the sale shelf!)
Temperate Grasslands by Ben Hoare (Part of a Series on Biomes carried by our library. It made a great intro to our topic and we will use the series, when available, for the rest of the study. Each book has great maps that mark all the biomes of the world!)
One Day in the Prairie by Jean Craighead George (This book tells the story of a boy taking pictures on the prairie as a storm comes in. It describes the animal activity on the prairie throughout the day. It was a fun read!)
An American Safari by Jim Brankdenburg ( Beautiful pictures of the American Prairie!)
I compiled a list of world grasslands, animals and plants inhabiting those grasslands, and general vocabulary we encountered on our study. Unless otherwise noted, we encountered all of these words in the books we read. Most were well-defined in the books; we did look a few up in the dictionary.
Animals of the Grasslands
African Savanna and the Velds: Tick Bird (Yellow Billed Oxpecker), Hippopotamus, Zebra, Baboon, Lion, African Elephant, Giraffe, Impala, Cheetah, Gazelle
North American Prairie: Bald Eagle, Prairie Dog, Pronghorn, Ground Squirrel, Mouse, Rattlesnake, Coyote, Butterfly, Canadian Geese, Badger, Fox Rabbit, Hawk, Ferret, Bobcat, Deer, Bison, Grasshopper, Great Plains Toad, Howdy Owl, Meadowlark, Sharp-Tailed Grouse, Sparrows
Australian Rangeland: Kangaroo, Dingo, Sheep
Steppes of Europe and Asia: Lynx, Eurasian Otter, Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros, Przewalski’s Horse
Pampas and Llanos of South America: Anteater, Jaguar, Puma
There are over 9000 types of grasses growing the world! There are 200 in North America alone. Here are a few of the grasses we came across: Grama Grasses, Wheat Grass, Locoweed, Tumble Grass, Puffsheath Grass, Weeping Love Grass, Windmill grass, Big Blue Stem, Buffalo Grass. Other plants we encountered in out reading: Purple Coneflower (snakeroot), Clover, Primrose, Yucca Plants (soap weed), Bluebonnets, and Paintbrush.
Tall Grass Prairie, Short Grass Prairie, Mixed Grass Prairie, Crepuscular, Nocturnal, Diurnal (we looked this up after we learned Crepuscular and Nocturnal, we wanted to know what animals who were active in the daytime were called!), Migration, Hibernation, Aestivation, Semiarid, Herbavore, Carnivore, Omnivore, Photosynthesis, Sod, Decompose, Nutrients, Humus, Festoon and Biotic.
Fun Fact: Cheetahs are the fastest land animal, and Pronghorns are the fastest land animal in North America!
I created a few lapbook entries for the basics of photosynthesis, animal behavior, as well as the plants and animals of the world’s grasslands. We also used a blank map to color and label all the grasslands.
Next time: Deserts!
Cheryl–Cheryl is a singing, dancing, baking, homeschooling mom of three. She has danced her whole life and taught ballet and theatre for most of her adult life. Her favorite pastime has always been cooking and baking, and as a Pampered Chef Independent Consultant she gets to share that love with others. Home educating her three children has been and continues to be one of her greatest learning experiences! It is an adventure she is ready to continue.