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Lesson Plan Table of Contents

At Home on the Prairie

Objectives: Students will be able to:

  • Understand the importance of the bison (buffalo) both within the prairie ecosystem and Native American culture by comparing George Catlin's written and visual depictions of bison with contemporary evidence.
  • Become familiar with the broad range of living organisms that inhabit the prairie and the interdependence of their existence.
  • Understand the importance of habitat and place to living organisms, both in terms of their own experience and that of plant and animal life on the prairie.
  • Demonstrate basic skills of scientific observation by investigating organisms of the prairie ecosystem.
  • Develop an appreciation for the delicate existence of the variety of endangered species protected under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

Standards: Geography, Life Science.

Skills Addressed: Linguistic, Spatial, Intrapersonal, Naturalist.

Interdisciplinary Connections: Life Science, Geography, Art.

Length: One to two fifty-minute class periods per activity.

Materials: Internet access, poster board/large construction paper, markers and/or crayons.

Products: Journal entry, poster of a selected prairie organism, map/drawing of "personal habitat."

Content Introduction: Bison, also known as buffalo, were and still remain a crucial component of the prairie ecosystem. Bison also held a position of high importance within the cultures of native Great Plains tribes as a resource for the sustenance of their people. Students will explore the complex relationship between living organisms, particularly bison, and the prairie ecosystem through Catlin's eyes as well as in relation to their own lives. Students will also learn about the delicate situation of species protected under the Endangered Species Act.

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Lesson Plan Table of Contents

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