Homeschool Day @ the Library: A virtual African safari!

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I have been hosting Homeschool programs for the last several months.  For some reason, I never blogged about them.  But I decided to do so this month!  Yesterday, I took the kids on a virtual African Safari!  We saw the African landscape, listened to the sounds of birds and nature, and witnessed antelope, elephant and a wild hyena!  No, I didn’t fly them all the South Africa–our budget doesn’t allow even a car trip to the zoo!  But we have all of this wonderful technology at the library and with that, we transported the students to the savannah with a real time, live video feed courtesy of Africam.com.  If you have not checked out this website, I highly suggest you do!  It is free and runs 24/7.  We took our time there to compare and contrast the landforms of south Africa to those of East Tennessee.  I ran this program twice, so I was able to show them a night time feed vs. a day time feed.  There are so many educational opportunities to be had with this website!  For example, the cameras are set up by watering holes.  Why?  The grasslands are wonderful for herbivores, but also carnivores.  Why?  You get the picture–tons of talking points here!

But like all safaris the action can be a bit slow.  We are not in control of the animals and had to wait for them.  So, to pass the time, I read to them from books and lead discussion points on topics from animal life to vegetation to cultural differences.

Here’s a run down of what we did:

  1. Identified North America and Africa on a globe.  Discussed the five regions of Africa so the kids could see where South Africa was.
  2. Explored the different terrains of each cam and compared/contrasted what we saw to where we live.
  3. Read sections of the book, “Africa” by Mel Friedman/open discussion on landscapes
  4. Read sections of the book “The Wide Open Grasslands: A Web of Life” by Phillip Johansson/open discussion on vegetation and types of animals
  5. Read sections of the book “Eyewitness Books: Africa”/open discussion on African clothing
  6. Making clothing pattern craft “Adinkra”

Our craft was based upon Adinkra–a type of cloth worn in Western Africa.  It is a small printed grid pattern made up of combed grid lines and finished off with a small shape printed in the square.  We used stamps, paint and forks to replicate the designs on construction paper.

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Final impression: Overall, I think the kids enjoyed it!  They did get a little bored waiting on the cams to load, as well as a bit impatient waiting on animals, but keeping them busy in other ways made up for the wait.

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