The following activities, suggestions and extensions may prove helpful
as students use the Quick Facts page to extend their background information
on the native prairie.
- ADD A FACT: Cut and paste the text of the Quick Facts page to a word
processing document. As students learn more about the prairies through
the activities, students may add facts to each section of the list.
- FACTS AND STATS: Because many of the "quick facts" include
math facts, introduce the Quick Facts page by creating a math matching/estimation
activity. For example, the following facts were copied from the Quick
Facts page with the corresponding statistics listed below. Students
should work in pairs, record their "estimate" and go to the
Quick Facts page to compare their answer with the fact.
Tallgrass prairie once covered _________
Prairies once covered about ______ of the United States.
Prairies formed about___________
Iowa had the largest percentage of its area covered by tallgrass
prairie - ________
In Iowa, __________ of the historic natural landscape is gone.
8,000 years ago
142 million acres.
30 million acres.
- THE REST OF THE STORY: Most of the quick facts introduce an area
of study that students could research further. Encourage students to
identify one of the facts for further research. For example, "Prairie
chickens once flourished on the grasslands. As the grass disappeared,
so did the prairie chicken. Today, only about 400,000 survive in the
entire country, in 11 states." Have students brainstorm research questions
and key words related to the prairie chicken. Included might be its
physical characteristics, habitat, annual reproductive cycle, natural
environment, predators, preservation efforts, etc.
- FUN FACT CONVERSION: Have students identify a fact from the Quick
Facts page that includes a statistic. Ask students to report the fact
using an equal but different unit of measure. This will require calculators!
For example, the fact. "Prairies formed about 8,000 years ago"
could be reported as:
Prairies formed about 2,920,000 days ago.
Prairies formed about 70,080,000 hours ago.
Prairies formed about 800 decades ago.
Prairies formed about 80 centuries ago.
Prairies formed about 8 millennia ago.
- PRAIRIE FACT CLASSIFICATION: To help sharpen students' critical thinking
skills, challenge them to identify an alternate way of classifying the
facts on the Quick Facts page. The page has been organized around four
general categories including basic facts about the prairie, prairie
plants, prairie animals and prairie fire.
For example, alternate classifications might include grouping together
those facts related to ecology and conservation. Facts describing
characteristics of plants or animals could be grouped together. Facts
containing statistics could be grouped together. Those that have no
statistics could be grouped together. Facts describing the prairie
today could be classified together. Those describing a prairie environment
that no longer exists could be grouped together.
To assist in manipulating the text and classification of facts, students
can copy and paste the Quick Facts page to a word processing document.