Friday, August 19, 2005

Africa Unit Study

 Here is my ideal unit study for our first week of school.  Later I'll break it up into 5 day sections.

A few notes about this one: - doing the stripes on the zebras freehand
is a pain to make a matching pair.   I'd recommend doing it in a
photo-editing program.  The Sweet Potato cookies were very
good.  I was surprised.  The kids keep scarfing them
down.  The homemade ginger   It had slightly
too much of a ginger aftertaste for me, although I bet that could be
remedied by adding more water or sugar or lemon juice.  Don't use
brightly colored cups for the African drums...the white tissue paper
doesn't cover all that well, even after being stained.

National Geographic Live WildCam in Botswana

Map of Africa to color
look at Africa on Google Earth

Animals to Study:
Ostrich - Ostrich coloring sheet
Hippo - Hippo coloring sheet  Another one
Cheetah - Cheetah coloring sheet
Elephant - Elephant coloring sheet
- Zebra coloring sheet

Ostrich Eggs
Make 20 copies of ostrich eggs.  Number eggs from 1-20; laminate
and cut out.  Have her line the eggs up in order from 1-20, and
then from 20-1.  Ostrich eggs can weigh up to 3.3 lbs.  
Find an equivalent weight and let her see how heavy it is. 
Compare to a chicken egg.

Jaguars' Spots
Make copy of sheet of jaguars.  Have her count the number of spots
on each jaguar.  Place an equal amount of dried beans on top of
each jaguar.    Print out the numeral equivalent to each
jaguar, and have her match the number of spots to the numeral.

Zebra Stripe Matching Game
Print out blank Zebra image
onto index cards.  Draw different amounts of stripes onto each
image - have 2 of each kind. Mix up the cards and let the her match the

Cheetah running/measurement (Zoobooks activity)

Animal Coverings

Get a variety of different animal coverings such as hair, fur,
feathers, etc.  Play with pieces, talk about them.  
Have her cut images of animals out of magazines and match the animal to
the type of covering.  Talk about why God gave each animal the
covering that it does - think about why a zebra with feathers (and
other examples like that) might not work.

Listen to sounds of the animals, either on cd or internet.
3 Hippo video clips, 1 audio

Listen to different languages being spoken, either on cd or internet.

Make a Habitat
- Using finished elephants, make a habitat for them - go on a walk and
find bark, grass, and leaves.  Put in a box with some water.


Zimbabwe Sweet Potato Cookies

2 1/2 cups (625 ml) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons (7 ml) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) baking soda
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) salt
1/2 cup (125 ml) butter or margarine (1 stick)
1/4 cup (50 ml) sugar
1 tablespoon (15 ml) grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon (5 ml) nutmeg
1/4 cup (50 ml) honey
1 egg
1 cup (250 ml) grated, raw sweet potatoes

Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C).

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium-size mixing bowl. Set Aside.

Cream the butter or margarine with the sugar in a large mixing bowl.
Mix in the lemon peel, nutmeg, honey, and egg. Then, stir in the grated
sweet potato.

Blend the flour mixture into the sweet potato mixture.

Place rounded teaspoons of the cookie dough onto an ungreased cookie
sheet. The cookies should be spaced at least 1/2-inch (1.25 cm)
apart.  Bake for 7 minutes.

Cheetah Cookies (from Zoobook magazine)

Ginger Root Beer
1/4 lb of ginger root.  Thinly slice.  Put in a pan with 3 c.
water - boil, cover and reduce heat and cook 20 min.  Throw away
root.  Add 1/2c. lemon juice and 1/3 c. sugar.  Stir until
dissolved.  Pour into a jar with a lid and refrigerate.  To
serve - fill glass 1/3-1/2 full with syrup.  Add ice and cold

Books to Read

Zigby camps out / Brian Paterson E PAT
Zebras / by Anthony D. Fredericks J 599.665 FRE
Yellow Hippo / by Alan Rogers E R
Hippos / Jenny Mary Markert J 599.734 M
Africa / Malcolm Porter and Keith Lye JR 960 POR
Ostriches / by Caroline Arnold J 598.5 ARN
Big egg / by Molly Coxe E COX
Cheetahs : fleetest of foot / by Eulalia Garcia J 599.74 G
The cheetah : world's fastest land animal / Joy Paige J 599.75 PAI
Aesop's Fable - The Lion and the Mouse
Animals in camouflage / Phyllis Limbacher Tildes J 591.472 T
Elephants : trunks and tusks / Adele D. Richardson J 599.67 RIC
Elephants The giant animals series/ Johnston, Marianne J 599.67 J
Saggy Baggy elephant : no place for me / by Gina Ingoglia E I
Here we go, Harry / Kim Lewis E LEW

Stamp with my giraffe, lion, and zebra rubber stamps
Texture painting with animal shaped bath toys

Rain Rhythm Stic

Paper towel tubing, plastic lids from milk jug, tape, beans or rice or cereal,  felt tip markers.

a paper towel tube with markers and sticker.  Close one end off
with a milk cap, sealing it with masking tape just to make sure the
filling doesn't come out.

fill the tube with dried beans or rice. Close the other end with a
cap.  Then let them shake, shake shake. It sounds just like

African Drum
Glue two styrofoam or plastic cups together, bottom to bottom and let dry.  Tear off 4 to 5 inch lengths of masking tape and completely cover the opening at the top and bottom of the cups.  Decoupage white tissue paper all over the outside of the cups and when dry, brush overtop with coffee or strong tea.  Draw geometric or other designs around the top, middle and bottom of the drums with permanent markers.

Salt Dough Elephants
2 c. flour
1 c. salt
1 c. water
Mix and knead.  Make figures, bake at 250 until brown. 



I'd like to go to Africa      (Point to self.)

Where natives build straw huts like this (Join fingertips of two hands and form roof)

Where elephants have big, gray trunks (clasp hands and swing arms in front like a trunk)

Where natives’ arrow seldom miss (Shoot arrow in pantomime.)

Where lions shake their manes and roar (Shake head & roar)

I'd like to go to Africa. (Point to self)

Get a CD from the library with african music on it.
African drums

Misc. Activities
Play with felt animals from Betty Lukens flannelgraph Bible stories - The Felt Source

Possibly take a field trip to a nearby Ostrich Farm

Get a National Geographic (or similar) video on Africa

Good Links
Wildlife Safari
Desert link
National Geographic Coloring Sheets
Unit Study planning page link
Books I'm using:

A to Z Math Games by Karen M. Breitbart (picked it up at a garage sale for $4!!!)

Instant Science for Primary Grades by Sam Ed Brown (another yard sale find!)


  1. how about animal paper plate masks? my kids LOVE to make those!

    do you have a recipe for sweet potato cookies? gimme gimme! :)

  2. It sounds like a wonderful plan! I want to come and join in the fun :-)


    P.S. I found you via the random blog link.

  3. You're making me sleepy..and look bad too. Don't ever let me hear you say you're not organized!! Good grief girl! I barely know what I'm doing and we're starting Monday. Let's see it's Friday, that means play today, tomorrow and cram on Sunday, right?


  4. Any chance you can share the recipe? I lost mine years ago



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Classical Chaos

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