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January -Zoo: Zoo Animal Habitats

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In January we had fun learning about different Zoo Animals and how they live and what they eat. I started off the Month with this project:

I wanted Rajaa to understand that not every animal lives in Zoos. So I made an empty Farm (environment only no animals) and an empty Zoo. I then hand-drew all the basic animals that are located in each group and cut them to small squares. Then I stuck the 2 separate pages on the bulletin board and grabbed my glue. I handed her each animal one at a time and asked her where does it belong? In the Zoo or the Farm? For the most part she was able to do this easily. I put glue on the back and she got to stick it into it's right place on the paper. Sometimes she tried to stick something in the wrong place on the paper but I'd ask her "Do Monkey's live in grassfields at the Zoo or in wire cages with ropes?" She's answer cages and ropes and then stick it on that picture.

After this we had our desert trip (link later). We collected desert habitat things like plants and sand and flowers. Then we made a picture at the desert and took the rest of our collection home.

To make all of these Zoo Crafts you will need the following supplies:
Regular Paper Plates
Heavy White Paper (like index card thickness)
Markers or Crayons (though I chose markers to make it brighter)
Toothpicks (to hold tall paper steady)
Glue (any kind)
A place to display the finished product
*optional natural products from nature like grass, sticks, sand, flowers, anything relating to the themed habitat. If not you can color them in ;)

First we made the Camel Habitat since we had just finished the desert trip.
I drew a few camels, sand dunes, leafy plants with flowers, palm trees, and water.
We discussed the habitat as we went along while drawing.
"Where does the camel live? Yes, in the desert. They like to walk in the sand on these sand hills. What do they eat? Yes, they eat these green plants and grass. Yes, the flowers too. And what do they drink? Good, they do drink water. But water is hard to find in the desert they have to walk very far! They find an Oasis with palm trees and a big pool of water to rest and drink."
Then we both cut everything out and leave enough room under the drawing for a "tab". I bend the drawing so it's standing on the tab then I position the stapler on the tabs and let her staple the items onto the paper plate. You can make the water look more realistic by bending it and stapling it curved. Then I got some white glue and mixed it with water to thicken it a bit and a brush and let both students paint all over the camels and sand dunes and paper plate. Then they got to throw pinches of sand (like a sand storm) ALL over the pictures. *or color everything brown if you don't want to use sand* Then I let Rajaa glue on the extra plants we had taken from the desert and applied glue heavily to make them stick. Leave a day or two to dry and then display!

Next is the Tiger: I colored the tiger while she colored the water and I showed her how to make grass lands and she colored the trees I drew. I colored the deer. We had a very important talk about how some animals eat other animals which at first made her nervous but after a while she understood.
"You know Rajaa sometimes big animals can't eat only plants. They need lots of vitamins and so they have to get meat. They eat other animals that are smaller than them. I know it sounds strange huh? But look at this tiger. He needs to be strong. Allah gave him some sharp teeth and claws. Do you need sharp teeth to eat grass? Nope, you're right we don't. We need sharp teeth to bite meat. So this Tiger likes to wait hiding in the grass where his stripes hide him. He sees the deer coming to the water for a drink and then he very carefully comes up behind it when it's not looking and JUMPS on it and chases it until he grabs it and quickly kills it then he just eats it. Then the Tiger is very happy and all full. Allah created lots of deer and small animals so that the Tiger and other big animals will have something tasty to eat. If they didn't eat these deer he would die. So help me staple the tiger hiding in the grass. Good, why is the tiger hiding? Yes, very smart! He is hiding so the deer doesn't see him so he can eat him. You're doing a great job today Rajaa!"
Then we stapled them in place and glued on a few pieces of grass and put it on the bulletin board.
We did these plate habitats every two or three days depending on life schedules. Sometimes we made parts of them everyday and saved them for another day to put together.

Next came Alligator. I explained they live in dark swampy waters and hide in the water and behind water grasses to wait for their food the deer who is drinking water.
We stapled first the "water" to the plate then the other objects on top. Discussion much like the tiger one above.

Monkeys came next. They eat fruits and they drink water, which Rajaa colored, and they live in families and live in the trees. We glued some sticks and leaves onto the pictures. The tree was drooping so I had to re-enforce the back with standing toothpicks. I let her decide where she wanted the monkey family to sit, next to the food or the water or in the tree. She said she wanted them to eat the strawberries and bananas. So she had fun doing that and coloring the monkeys of course.

Next came the Meercats (one of her favorite zoo animals to visit). I made the meercats able to pop up and down (lay flat). And a large log to hide under and bugs to eat.
"The meercats are afraid! What are they afraid of? Yes Eagles and Hawks! When the eagle comes by they run to their homes under ground (lay flat, we had fun playing this a few times). Then the eagle might catch one if it is too slow and take it back home to it's nest. It kills the meercat and then feeds it to it's babies so it's babies can grow strong! The Eagle likes to make it's nest way up high in big trees (more toothpicks for support). They build a big nest and have their eggs, later the eggs hatch and the babies come out and want food from their mommies. Allah makes lots of Meercats for the Eagles to catch some and there is still more so they don't get lonely when one gets taken away."
We stapled it all and put it up!

The final one is the African Habitat. I didn't want to make LOTS more plates because she understood the concept and I wanted to shoe they are related so I made a big one. First I made a large Elephant. Then a Hippo. And a large pool for those two to be at. Then I made the giraffe and Zebra eating together at the tree (which I folded corner style so it would stand up without toothpicks). Then the Lion hiding behind the grass waiting to catch the Zebra and Giraffe. I explained they all live near each other and that they try to keep their own spaces. The Hippo scares the Lion yet the Lion scares the Zebras. Nobody messes with the elephants unless they are very hungry and the elephant is old. I put the water, elephant, and Hippo on one plate then attached another plate and set up the lion and the giraffe/zebra and cut off the excess plate. Rajaa helped with all the stapling (stock up on staples for this month ha ha).
We had much fun and at the end we reviewed each animal and it's habitat and what it eats before the end of the month test.

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