Africa Savanna

Lesson Plan

Author: Tammy Tueller

Grade Level: Early Elementary

Materials: Background Information at bottom of Lesson Plan

A large black and white map of Africa, a black and white map of Africa for each child, pictures of the Africa savanna, information for them to research on the Africa savanna, Paper to write their fact down. Links of different sites you can use to have the children read:,, (These animals will be the ones you are looking for aardvark, baboon, bat, buffalo, cheetah, elephant, giraffe, hyena, leopard, lions, rhinoceros, zebra.) (Use this address for the countries of Burkina Faso, Angola, Nigeria, Zambia, Uganda, Swaziland, Zambia, and Tanzania). Books to use: Places and People of the World Uganda by Alexander Creed, 1988, Chelsesa House Publishers, New York. Central African Pictures Visual Geography Series by Thomas O' Toole, 1989, Lerner Publications Company. Enchantment of the World Zambia by Jason Laure, 1989, Childrens Press Chicago. Eyewitness Books Africa by Yvonne Ayo, 1995, Alfred A Knopf. Children of the World Tanzania by Valerie Weber and Tom Pelnar, 1989, Gareth Stevens Publishing. Places and People of the World Togo by Zachery Winslow, 1988, Chelsea house Publishers. Baboons by Lynn M. Stone, 1990, Rourke Corporation, Inc. Antelopes by Lynn M. Stone, 1990, Rourke Corporation, Inc. African Buffalo by Lynn M. Stone, 1990, Rourke Corporation, Inc. Giraffes by Lynn M. Stone, 1990, Rourke Corporation, Inc. Zebras by Lynn M. Stone, 1990, Rourke Corporation, Inc. Cheetahs by John Bonnett Wexo, 1993, Wildlife Education, Ltd. Lions by John Bonnett Wexo, 1993, Wildlife Education, Ltd. Young Lions by Toshi Yoshida, Philomel Books New York.


1. Have a large black and white map of Africa hanging up in the classroom so that the children can see it right away. As the children come in and see the map of Africa you can ask what they know about Africa and about their interests in Africa. After everyone is seated start to talk to them about the different types of biomes that Africa has. There is a list of the different biomes and what some of their characteristics are in the background information. Take different colors of crayons and color in the different types of biomes that you talk about. Talk briefly about the desert, rain forest, and steppe grassland biomes. End with savanna because you will be going more in depth with that one.

2. Have information on the African savanna that the children can read. Have them go pick out something to read that you have set out. Give them a few minutes to read. As they are reading have them look for one interesting fact about the savanna that they would like to share. have a piece of paper or form that they can write down their one interesting fact on. Once they have done this bring them back together.

3. Once they are back together as a group go around the class and give each person a chance to share one thing they learned about the Africa savanna. As each person shares their fact have them pin their fact on the map of Africa somewhere inside the savanna.

4. Once everyone has shared a fact about the Africa savanna bring everything they have been learning together by discussing the Africa savanna. Discuss with the whole class what characteristics a savanna has. Discuss with them what a savanna is so that they will know what it is. Some possible questions and answers you could discuss with them would be: Q: What animals live on savannas? A: Elephants, giraffes, lions, leopards, aardvarks, buffalo, zebra, cheetah, hyena, rhinoceros. Q: What kind of plants grow on the savannas? A: grass, trees with thick bark, tropical shrubs, thorn trees, Baobab trees. Q: When do savannas have a wet season? A: The wet season is in the summer months. Q: When is the dry season? A: The dry season is in the summer months. Q: How much rain does a savanna receive? A: A savanna can receive rain anywhere from 20 inches to 60 inches. These are some of the questions you could ask the children. You can also talk about other things that they may bring up as you are discussing the savanna.

5. Give them a map of Africa and have them color in where the savanna is on Africa. You can have them color in the rest of the biomes if you would like to. At the bottom of the page with the map on it have them write in their own words what a savanna is.


I will check their papers to make sure they have correctly identified what a savanna is like in Africa.

Africa Savanna

Background Information

Desert: A desert biome has the lightest vegetation coverage, it is very hot and has low precipitation.

Rain Forest: A rain forest has a continuous canopy of foliage, heavy precipitation, constant high temperature. They also have high humidity.

Steppe Grassland: A grassland is dominated by tall grass. They are the areas with the most productive agriculture.


A savanna is a tropical or subtropical grassland containing scattered trees and drought-resistant undergrowth as stated in the Webster Dictionary.

Vegetation: Vegetation in the savanna of Africa consist of scattered trees and grasses. The trees are open and spreading, they have thick bark which is fire resistant because there are many fires in the savannas of Africa. They also have large and course leaves. There are different types of savannas with different amounts of vegetation. You can have high grass and low tree savannas, tall grass savannas, and short grass savannas. There is a cool and dry, hot and dry, and warm and wet seasons on the savanna. There are thorn trees, tropical shrub and Baobab trees on the savanna. The savannas have a dry season in the winter months and in the summer months they have a wet season. The annual rainfall for a savanna region is anywhere from 20 in. to more than 60 in. One fifth of Africa is a savanna.

Animals: There are many different types of animals that live on the savannas. There are usually large mammals such as elephants, giraffes, buffaloes, antelopes, zebras, rhinoceros, lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, jackals, and hunting dogs. There are also small burrowing rodents and insectivores. The animals who are herbivores do not tend to compete for food because they all eat at different levels. For example, you have the elephant and giraffe who eat from the tops of trees, the antelopes who eat different heights of bushes, zebras and impala's who eat on the grass, and the warthogs who eat underground roots.


Map of Vegetation in Africa

The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Africa by Roland oliver and Michael Crowder, 1981, Cambridge University Press.

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