Planting a Tallgrass Prairie
updated July 21, 2020
Recorded here is my own personal collection of articles, resources, favorite links, teaching ideas, and lesson plans. It encompasses many years, from the very beginning of my experience studying and learning about Waldorf to the present time. People from all around the world visit my site and recommend it to others. Welcome!
This site records my journey. I hope my honesty is encouraging and helps break down some barriers that may prevent people from trying Waldorf methods. Because this is an ongoing site documenting my curriculum planning and ideas, some materials are more Waldorf-y than others. Please feel free to take what you like and leave the rest.
This page has helpful links and LOADS of free resources to help you plan your fifth grade year. Enjoy!
There is a lot of content to cover in Botany, so this is can be done as one block or two. If you prefer one block, I would suggest only using
my first block's notes (on the Botany page). If you prefer two blocks, you can use the Thomas Elpel materials to go into more detail. This second Botany block can be done in 5th grade or 6th. Please do note that these resources are for teaching Botany in North America.
I decided in the 2020-2021 school year to do two blocks of Botany, each
with a focus on hands-on projects. Our first block focused on Herbal Medicines; our second
block focused on Planting a Tallgrass Prairie.
My second grade class, who are doing Nature Study as their Science topic, will use this time to help plan and plant
the Tallgrass Prairie with their older classmates, and to study Beneficial Insects.
Illinois Prairie Wildflowers Poster
Prairie Primer - Activity Book and Poster
Illinois Prairies Coloring Poster
Illinois Department of Natural Resources also has traveling trunks (or they did before the coronavirus; I'll have to check now)
and there's one for the Prairie. These are available at state parks and public libraries across the state
they have quite a bit in this bin about the history of the animals and people who have been on this land (ancient mammals, Native Americans,
pioneers), so I guess you have to decide if you want to put a little of that in or just keep it purely
on the Botany track
if you do incorporate discussion of Native Americans of the prairie lands, I strongly recommend
AMAZING interactive map (for helping you figure out "whose land are you on?") at https://native-land.ca
Planting native plants for wildlife! You can attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your yard naturally with native plants. Here's a list of plants that are available in some nurseries (you might want to call around before investing time and gas)
Note: don't ever collect these plants in the wild - purchase them from a nursery:
Butterfly milkweed - aptly named - the butterflies love it!
Common milkweed - the host plant for Monarch butterfly caterpillars
Shell-leaf beardtongue (also a penstemon)
Asters - lots of different types
Prepare the soil with a good mix of native soil, sand and compost and then plant. Then simply wait for the butterflies and hummingbirds to arrive!
In truth, tallgrass prairie isn't quite the native biome for where we are located here in Southern Illinois. I found that out when a Botany
special guest came to our homeschool co-op. If you look at a biome map, Illinois is where the temperate forest and the grasslands meet.
North of us, where the glaciers scraped the land flat, it was prairie but here in the south
where the glaciers didn't come (they stopped just a few miles from our town) it was forest. The kids got really curious about tallgrass
prairie when we studied Local History & Geography in grade 4, and since it was the last biome in the U.S. to form and the first
to be destroyed, we wanted to bring some back.
Now that we know it was actually forest in this place, the plan is turn part of my yard into
a food forest and part into prairie. Even if this land wasn't ALL prairie here, we can still do a little something.
Having space dedicated to plants that are being eradicated
is helpful to wildlife.
At this point, this block is still in the planning stages and I'm looking for a place to put all of my ideas.
If you have a wonderful resource or suggestion for this project, email Renee!
this is from an old book series that is extremely hard to find now... but the books were great!
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