Personally, when I think of Africa my first thoughts go to the savanna. I envision large open grasslands, with lions and zebras roaming freely. I see cheetahs running while the oversized African sun is slowly setting in the background. Ok, ok I`m done daydreaming. Caleb and I were pretty excited to start this part of the unit because we (well, I) wanted to learn more. Is it bad as a homeschool mom, that I may sometimes push us in a direction that I want to learn about? I don’t think so. As long as we are all learning and having a great time…why not 😉 Please check out this link if you are interested in other topics we have done so far in our Africa Unit Study.
We started out with this great you-tube video. (4:21) The camera flew over the Serengeti. It was a really neat angle that we got to see. Our favorite scene was when the zebras just start running. It’s a beautiful sight. Oh and I got to see that Sun setting. It’s breathtaking! We also watched this video. It showed wildebeest crossing the Mara River during the the Great Migration. It was really fascinating to see all those animals being so close together and working as one to get across the river.
Here are the books we read:
Safari by Caren Barzelay Stelson – This book is actually a story of the authors experience on an African safari. The photos are older and grainy but Caleb and I really enjoyed the story.
Discovering the Tropical Savanna by Janey Levy – Offers great information and photos pertaining to the savanna. I was able to get a lot of my test questions from here.
Living in the African Savannah (World Cultures) – This book covers the culture of the Maasi people. Caleb really enjoyed the photos and his favorite part was learning about how the boys become warriors.
Draw.Write.Now Book 8 by Marie Hablitzel and Kim Stitzer – Caleb loves doing these books. I let him pick whatever page he wanted to do and he choose the cheetah. Caleb doesn’t need to work on his penmanship anymore so we skipped over the “Write” part.
When finished with all our books we did a really fun art project from Art Smudge. We started by drawing a savanna landscape on our paper with pencil and then traced over it with a black magic marker. Next, we ripped apart tissue paper into small pieces. We used pink, orange, red, light pink, and yellow. We then glued the tissue paper over the top of our landscape. It took a full day to let everything dry. Then we put a black border around it and hung them on the window. They look so neat when the light shines through on them.
The video we watched for this unit was:
Biomes of the World In Action: Grasslands by Schlessinger Science Library – The run time is 23 minutes. The DVD offers information on all grasslands around the world but it did zero in on the Serengeti Savanna. The video quality was good and the speaker offered enough information to keep it interesting without going overboard. Caleb paused the DVD several times on his own to take notes.
Caleb finished up this unit by taking an oral test (I just asked him questions on things we talked about) and wrote a short essay on what he learned. There weren’t too many extra activities this time around but we still learned a lot. On to the Congo Rain forest!! =)
Happy Learning Everyone!