Animals of the African Savannahs
Author: Angel Gladden
Grade Level: Early Elementary
Objectives: The students will create and describe a new animal that will be able to live on the savannah following the characteristics of savannah wildlife discussed in the lesson.
Background Information and Resources
- Pictures of the savannah
- Pictures of animals and plants that live on the savannah (See resources ).
- Map of Africa and where savannahs are located.
- Various art materials: construction paper, scissors, glue, crayons, pipe cleaners, etc.
Procedure:1. Discussion of Africa and savannahs.T: Close your eyes. We are going on a trip. Imagine that you are in Africa. What do you see? (Write the students responses on the board).
T: How many of you have seen "The Lion King?" That movie takes place on an African savannah. A savannah is an area where there are tall grasses, few trees, and lots of wildlife. (Show pictures of the savannah).
T: Let me show you how much of Africa is a savannah. (Teacher shows the map of the biomes of Africa and points out that the areas that are shaded a certain color are where the savannahs are).
2. Discuss animals that live on a savannah.T: The animals that live on savannahs are different than the kind of animals that we have here. What kind of animals do you think live on a savannah? (Write the students responses on the board. Place pictures of animals up as they are mentioned. Some examples are: the lion, giraffe, elephant, rhinoceros, cheetah, vulture, and zebra.)
T: You don't find these animals anywhere else in the world because they can only live in savannahs. They have adapted to their climate and they all have things in common. (For example, they don't need a lot of water, they use a lot of land and roam all over, and the color of their skin is camouflaged to the landscape. Write the students responses on the board as they think of more).
3. Discuss plants that live on a savannah.T: The plants that live on savannahs are different than the kind of plants that we have here. What kind of plants do you think live on a savannah? (Write the students responses on the board. Place pictures of plants up as they are mentioned. Some examples are: tall grasses, trees, and small grasses).
T: You don't find these plants anywhere else in the world because they can only live in savannahs. They have adapted to their climate and they all have things in common. (For example, they don't need a lot of water, they can withstand the heat, etc. Write the students responses on the board as they think of more).
4. Discuss what people who live on the savannah do for a living.T: Do people live on the savannahs? (Yes.)
T: What do you think that they do for a living? (They are farmers and herders).
T: People who live on the savannah are farmers and herders. Like the plants and animals that live there, they have adapted their way of living so that they can live there too. The ground there is difficult to grow on because there are little nutrients in the soil. So, the farmers cut down trees and burn them to fertilize the ground. The herders use animals as their way of life. Herders use fertilizer to get more plants to grow for their animals to eat.
5. Create a new animal.T: Now that you know what kind of animal lives on the savannah, I want you to make a new animal. I want this animal to be able to live on the savannah. It should have the characteristics discussed. I want you to name your animal and write a description about what it looks like, where it lives, what it eats, and how it avoids predators/catches prey.
T: I also want you to create a picture of your animal. You can use whatever materials that you would like to show us what it looks like. Be creative! (Place the various art materials out where all of the students can access them).
When the students are finished, hang up the pictures with the description below it.
Evaluation:Did the students create and describe an animal that would be able to live on a savannah following the characteristics listed in class?
Resources:African Wildlife Gallery
Africa Photo Album
College of the Siskiyous Geography Slide Shows
Savannah Grassland by Erin and Emily
A Closer Look at a Savannah
Africa Animal Information
Africa Web Links
Directory of Africa Related Links
Return to Africa Table of Contents