Lesson Plan

Background Information

Animal Chain


Author: Annie Savage

Grade level: Second grade


1. The students will be able to distinguish between different animals and their role on the African Savanna.

2. The students will be able to explain the social structure of the animals and how they interact.


Materials Needed:

Melvin Berger, Life on the African Savannah, Newbridge Communications, Inc., New York: 1995. ISBN: 1-56784-214-3

Have the children bring in different kinds of "stuff" that they have at home (i.e. yarn, paper, containers, boxes, etc.)

Long pieces of colored paper

Construction paper

Paint (Variety of colors: black, brown green, yellow, etc.)








1. "Since our unit that we are studying is on Africa, we are going to talk about the African Savanna today. We will look at the animals that live in the grasslands of the savanna. Each animal that lives on the savanna plays a different part in the interaction of the animals and the land. We are going to read a story about the animals on the savanna. Listen to the different parts that each animal plays."


2. Read Life on the African Savannah by Melvin Berger.

Life on the African Savannah tells about the animals on the African savanna and how they interact with each other. It tells about what they eat and what they do. It also gives the background information on what the African savanna is.


3. Have an interactive discussion with the children. Some questions that you might ask them are:
a. What kind of animals were in the book? (Zebra, elephant, lions, termites...)

b. Where do these animals live? (The savanna.)

c. What is a savanna? (A place where there is grass and not many trees.)

d. How do the animals interact with each other? (Some of the animals eat other animals; they share the water and the land.)

e. Why do they eat other animals, is it because they are mad at the animals? (No, they eat the animals because that is their food.)

f. If we lived on the savanna how would we interact with the land and the animals? (We would kill the bigger animals for food; take over the land; build on the land and force the animals to move.)

g. What kind of effect would this have on the land and the animals? (It would eliminate some animals; the animals might try to attack us; there would be less grasslands; the environment would change.)


4. Children will make a 3-D mural of the savanna to go on one or part of one of the walls in the room. Place the children in groups of three. Have each group come up with an animal that lives on the savanna. Encourage the groups to come up with different animals. Have the children use the resources that they brought from home to create a large replica of the animal they chose. Decide on a scale that can be used to create the animals. (The giraffe could be six feet tall and the termite could be 1/2 inch long.) The groups that are making smaller animals may need to make more than one type of animal. Have one group be in charge of making the background that goes on the wall.

Once the background and the animals have been completed, have the children staple the animals where they want them to be. They may need help hanging up their animals depending on how big or high they go. Have them decide where they are going to hang up their animals and why. Ask them, as a small group, why it is important that the animals are hung in a certain place? (The animal lives in that part -- in the trees, in the ground-- of the savanna. It contributes to the savanna in that way.)

Encourage the children to talk about how their animal relates and interacts with the other animals on the savanna. Help them to understand that every animal, no matter how big or small, has a major part in the savanna.


5. When the mural is finished, discuss as a class, why each group put their animal where they did. (They will give an appropriate answer as to why each animal lives in that part of the savanna.) Ask them if there are any animals missing that they feel should be in the mural and why. (Depends on what animals they did not include in the mural.) Ask them why it is important for all of the animals to live together. (For the food source of some of the animals. Helps keep the land the same.)



1. In the group and class discussions, the children will demonstrate their knowledge of the animals and their roles.

2. Have the children write a brief paragraph or two on what they learned about the African Savanna and the animals in it. Have them explain the interactions that go on between the animals.


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Savanna can be spelled two different ways. It can be spelled either savanna or savannah. When searching for the savanna in Africa, it is best to leave off the "h."

The savanna can be found in two forms. One form is natural grasslands and the other form is the grassland that has been created by humans cutting down forests.

In Africa, the savannah is the largest vegetation zone. A few trees and shrubs can be found scattered about the savanna. Larger animals eat the woody plants and keep them from growing in the savanna.

Approximately 4-16 inches of rain falls each year. In eastern Africa, fires keep the forest from growing in the savanna. Trees, like bur oak, grow on the savanna. They have thick bark that insulate them from fires.

Many different habitats are found for plants and animals on the savannas. The few trees that are found, provide shade for some animals. The grasslands provide places for other animals to live and survive. Flowering plants, grasses, and sedges are found on the savannas.


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Adeeb, Hassan and Bonita. Misconceptions about Africa. Adeeb Publishing. Accokeek, Maryland. <http://www.sas.upenn.edu/African_Studies/K-12/adib_africa.html>

Aldo Leopard Chapter. Information Sheet on Prairie, Savanna and ecological Restoration. <http://www.shopperstopper.com/shopper/badger/future/infoprai.htm>

Savanna. (1998). Microsoft Corporation. <http://www.encarta.msn.com/index/conciseindex/0b/00be8000.htm>


The Phoenix Zoo. (1997). The Phoenix Zoo. <http://aztec.asu.edu/phxzoo/trailaf.html>

Adventure Quest.com and The Explorer's Companion are trademarks of Deep River Interactive. Adventure Quest.com. (1998). Deep River Interactive. <http://www.adventurequest.com/htm/1399.htm>

You Can Find Here Some General Info About Africa. <http://www.euronet.nl/users/arold/factafr.html>

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