MnSTEP Teaching Activity Collection > MnSTEP Activities > Prairie Life: Observation and Recording of Plant and Animal Life

Prairie Life: Observation and Recording of Plant and Animal Life

Cholice Koeller
Century Elementary
Park Rapids, MN
Author Profile


In this activity, we use our school prairie to investigate its plant and animal life. The students will draw and write about what they observe in a defined area. This information will be shared in verbal and written form.

Learning Goals

This activity is designed for students to:
1. Observe and record the prairie life
2. Share their observations and recordings
3. Become more aware of the prairie and its wonder

Context for Use

This activity begins outdoors with a class size of approximately 20 students. A previous visit for general observations of the prairie would be beneficial. Each student will need a clipboard, pencil/colored pencils, quadrat and a magnifying lens. Approximately 20 minutes should be allowed for the outdoor portion of this activity and 15 minutes for the classroom component.

Subject: Environmental Science, Geoscience
Resource Type: Activities:Field Activity, Classroom Activity
Special Interest: Field-Based Teaching and Learning
Grade Level: Primary (K-2)
Theme: Teach the Earth:Enhancing your Teaching:Teaching in the Field, Teach the Earth:Teaching Environments:K12, Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Environmental Science

Description and Teaching Materials

After a previous visit to our school prairie, we would set out to do the following activity. Independently or with a partner, the students will use a quadrat to outline an area of the prairie. They will observe and sketch objects within the quadrat and write about the sketches. Returning to classroom, the students will share their information with small groups. The pages will then be compiled to make a class book for further learning and enjoyment. To close the lesson we would hear an interestng piece of information from each group.

Teaching Notes and Tips

In the past, the students have visited the prairie only in the spring of the year. At that time we have transplanted the seeds we sprouted in our grow lab, onto the prairie. The plants are prairie plants. By observing and recording prairie life prior to the planting, I'm certain more awareness, excitement, and ownership will take place.


Assessment will be the sketching and writing the students did outdoors and the sharing of this information with others. It will also be my observaton throught this activity.


This activity supports the standard Nature of Science
Inquiry: question, observe, seek answers

References and Resources