Grassland Ecosystem Project Ideas

Instructor: John Hamilton

John has tutored algebra and SAT Prep and has a B.A. degree with a major in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Christopher Newport University.

Grassland ecosystems compose about one-fourth of the Earth's land and are important for the survival of many species of plants and animals. These three projects will educate your students about these critical regions of our planet.

Why Grassland Ecosystem Projects?

Grassland ecosystems are an integral part of Earth and are crucial to the survival of many types of flora and fauna. They compose about twenty-five percent of our planet's land regions. Students will learn about these ecosystems through designing, researching, and working in groups. These projects are ideal for grades 6-8, although slightly younger and older students could benefit as well.

Grassland Ecosystem Diorama Project

Materials: shoeboxes, colored markers, construction paper or cardstock, glue, knife, paint, plastic bottles, rulers, scissors, tape, wire, wire cutters

Time: 2-3 hours

A diorama is a type of three-dimensional model that represents in miniature a larger actual environment.

  • Inform your students they are going to be creating their very own grassland ecosystem dioramas.
  • Divide them into small groups or allow them to work independently. Instruct them:
    • Remove one of the sides of your shoebox.
    • Measure a piece of construction paper to fit the bottom of your box. Cut out the paper and glue it to the bottom of your box.
    • Next cut out construction paper for the back wall (and side walls if you have them) of your box. However, before you glue them to your box, decorate them with markers or paint so they look like the sky.
    • Using your knife, cut off the bottom of your plastic bottle about one-fifth of the way from the bottom. This will be your pond.
    • Cut a hole in the bottom of your box about the same size as the bottom of the bottle.
    • Insert your pond into the hole in the box.
    • Use colored markers or paint to create brown and green grasses on the floor of your box.
    • Add small pebbles or rocks around your pond. You can also sprinkle a few throughout your diorama.
    • Add miniature animal figurines to your diorama. You can also draw or paint depictions of birds on the back and sides of your box.
    • Add fake grass to your grassland ecosystem. You can create your own, or bags are available at craft stores for just a few dollars.
    • Construct a tree or two of wire and add to the diorama. A good place for trees would be near the pond, as grasslands typically don't get a lot of rain.

Comeback of the Bison in American Grassland Ecosystems Project

Materials: Internet access

Time: 50 minutes

The American bison was hunted almost to extinction by the end of the 19th century. Amazingly, about thirty million roamed the Great Plains. Today, conservation efforts have brought the total back to about one-quarter of a million. In this project, your students will research the bison, and theorize how this successful comeback could be geared toward other animals.

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