School’s out, and I am very, very excited. I love doing mini-lessons with my kids and since the lion exhibit is opening at the Zoo I want to use that as a theme. I have theme issues. I love them.
This Thursday, John Ball Park Zoo members have the opportunity to take a sneak peek at the lion exhibit. I have put together some different ways to have fun learning about lions. Even if you don’t live in Grand Rapids, or might be going to the exhibit later this summer (maybe to the Mane Event or one of the free/reduced admission days? Check the calendar for more details), if there is one thing I can do, it is exploit a theme to death. I love the website First School, because it already pulls together a lot of information and suggestions.
FIRST, the craft. It is a lion paper bag puppet. I’m going to have the kids make them, then as we do our other ‘lion’ stuff, have them hanging around with us all week. The link to the directions are here. There are printable templates, so it doesn’t take a lot of materials to create (other than the actual paper bag). You just have them color the template, stick it on the bag, and you’re done.
NEXT, and also from a First School link, is the food. What do lions eat? A National Geographic fact sheet (lots of good stuff on there) says that,
A typical meal for an adult male lion is 15 pounds of meat, though lions can consume as much as 60 pounds at a sitting.
I’m going to show my kids what a pound of meat looks like, just to give them a frame of reference. We won’t eat 15 pounds of meat for the sake of education. We will eat junk for the sake of education though. We’re going to make sugar cookies, and put two chocolate chips in for eyes. Then, when the cookies are cooled, I’m going to let the kids use that frosting in a can with the plastic tips to decorate their manes, and change the tip to make their mouths. And of course, black licorice for the whiskers. I can’t wait to see how these turn out!
THEN for the video portion of my lesson plan. National Geographic has a short, on-line video of a lion roaring. It’s a little boring, but honestly, the other options were YouTube videos of baby hippos being torn to shreds. Maybe we’ll cover that next summer but for now, we’ll stick to roaring.
Also on video will be the movie “The Lion King” because we already own it, and we haven’t watched it in a while. Naturally, we will be shoving crazily-frosted cookies in our mouths and have paper bags with lion faces on them seated beside us, so I think it will be a very educational experience.
Also, I like the show “Between the Lions” (on at 3:00PM on WGVU) so we’ll try and catch that a few times too.
And of course, the BOOKS! The paper lions will accompany us to the library, and I’m going to do something differently this time. Rather than go on-line and request books before hand like usual, I’m going to have the kids ask the librarians for books about lions. It occurred to me that they don’t know that the librarians do anything other than read at story time, because we usually use the check-out machines.
I shoud be able to squeeze these all in between now and Thursday. Any other lion suggestions out there? Leave a comment!