Naturalists who study the Serengeti and its animals have sharp observational skills. They spend hours watching and recording data. One of their most useful tools is a log book, where they record notes, sketches, and questions for further research. You may not be able to sharpen your observation skills on the Serengeti, but you can by walking out your door. Adopt a plot in your backyard, playground, or park. Start your own log and observe the environment at your toes.
Take a trip to your nearest zoo. Choose an animal to observe. Using a log book, jot down your observations and make sketches of your animal-its coloration, movement, food, sleeping position, etc. When you return, continue gathering information about this animal at the library or by computer. Design, write, and illustrate several pages about your animal. Combine your pages with those completed by classmates to create a book about the animals at the zoo.
The wildebeests play a critical role in the Serengeti. Which mammals, birds, or insects migrate where you live? Do some research. Where does each migratory animal make its home in the winter and summer? Draw a map to show the migratory patterns of as many animals in your area as possible.
The animals of the Serengeti depend upon its grass. Find out more about grass. Plant several types of grasses in cut-off milk cartons. After the grass sprouts, start observing. Using a magnifying glass, compare and contrast characteristics of the different grasses. Cut the plants at the top, middle, and bottom. Observe these plants over the next few weeks. Dig up the grass and study the root system.
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Newton's Apple is a production of KTCA Twin Cities Public Television. Made possible by a grant from 3M. Educational materials developed with the National Science Teachers Association.