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Following My Students’ Interests… To Africa
9 Nov, 2015. 0 Comments. A Day In First Grade, Kindergarten, Kindergarten Science. Posted By: Kristen Smith

My students are obsessed with endangered animals. I honestly have never seen a group of kids so INTO a topic. While learning about endangered animals was not on my scope and sequence for the year, I had to ditch the plan and follow my students’ lead.

We are 2 weeks into learning about endangered animals and they are LOVING the new unit.

introducing students to geography

To start the unit, we reviewed the 7 continents and created a beautiful watercolor mural so that we can add each animal we learn about to the map.

Creating a watercolor mural of the world in kindergarten-- Reggio InspiredCreating a watercolor mural of the world in kindergarten-- Reggio Inspired Creating a watercolor mural of the world in kindergarten-- Reggio Inspired
Creating a watercolor mural of the world in kindergarten-- Reggio Inspired Creating a watercolor mural of the world in kindergarten-- Reggio Inspired

The finished product came out like this:

Creating a watercolor mural of the world in kindergarten-- Reggio Inspired

Since beginning this unit I have learned so much about endangered animals and just how GIANT this topic is! I learned that there are currently over 16,000 endangered animals. In order to teach this unit, I decided to break it down by continent. This not only allows for me to teach my students about the animals but also about habitats, cultures, and also geography! As two of my students are from Africa, we decided to start there!

We began by watching this video:

I then taught my students about the African savannah. We looked at many pictures of the savannah and then, inspired by this picture:

African sunset

Photo by JERRY RUIZ

We got to work painting our own African savannah sunsets.

I gave my little artists a pallet that only included red and yellow and had them mix the colors that they needed for their sunset.

Painting an African sunset Painting an African sunset A Day In First Grade-12

The next day, we added the tree to our paintings.

Painting an African sunset Painting an African sunset Painting an African sunset

They came out fabulous and are proudly being displayed in our classroom!

An African Sunset

After learning about the savannah, we began to learn about the animals that are endangered there. My students were shocked and horrified to find out that the lion is on the endangered species list. We read many books about lions and watched this story.

We even painted our own lions.

Painting a lion while learning about endangered animals Painting a lion while learning about endangered animals

Painting a lion while learning about endangered animals

They came out awesome!

We also learned about the Masai culture this week. We read the book, “Who’s In Rabbit’s House” and watched a video that showed my students what it was like to be a Masai child.

We then painted Masai necklaces out of paper plates.

Painting Masai necklaces out of paper plates Painting Masai necklaces out of paper plates

My students are LOVING this unit and I can’t wait to blog about more of the fun we are having!

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