Toolbox

Tools, Resources, Special Activities, Music, Videos - to help your students learn about the Flint Hills!

For more ideas, see Place-Based Education Resources

Kansas Day Activities

Variety of recommended activities to add fun and real learning to your Kansas Day!  Ideas for classroom; many also adaptable to stations. Numerous subject areas, cross-curricular.

Big Bluestem:  King of the Prairie

Colorful slide presentation and related song appeal to all levels and introduce students to this tallest of the tallgrass prairie grasses.  Slide show explains its physical characteristics, habitat, economic value, ecological importance, cultural significance and beauty.  Song celebrates the grass and reviews the science.  Can also choose from follow-up activities in LESSON including a “Wanted Poster” for Big Bluestem!

Eco-services of the Tallgrass Prairie

Why should we care about the tallgrass prairie?  What does it do for us?  Brief powerpoint (9 slides) summarizes 7 important eco-services.

Intro to Biodiversity in the Tallgrass Prairie Community

Powerpoint invites students (elementary to high school) to learn 12 prairie species.  First, defines biodiversity and explains  importance, defines ecological niche ("prairie job"), defines forbs, explains role of legumes, etc.  Then introduces 12 prairie species - grasses, wildflowers, animals - invites students to learn the names of these "neighbors" - who have been here much longer than we have!  12 review slides at the end to "test" memories - then answer pops-up on each.

Free Book: “The Autumn Calf”

Available free of charge to teachers, libraries & schools (call (785) 587-0381 or email Konzaed@ksu.edu).] About a Konza Prairie bison calf and its struggle to survive on the Kansas prairie. Beautiful illustrations & sidebars with extensive info on Tallgrass Prairie ecosystem, bison, etc.  Available free of charge to teachers, libraries & schools (call (785) 587-0381 or email Konzaed@ksu.edu).  Has lesson plans.

Interactive - Species Pop-ups in Flint Hills Wildlife Illustration - (side panel from Flint Hills Map - Middle School exhibit)

Kids click on any of the 58 features in the beautiful illustration and up pops the species name and web links for more information.  Fun way to learn Flint Hills Wildlife & Geology!  See Lesson Plans - Middle School Scavenger Hunt - Tallgrass Illustration for related activities.

Flint Hills Tallgrass Prairie - Your Place in Our World 

(Early Grades K-2+)  17-slide presentation with maps, photos, and basic facts introducing young students to geography, Flint Hills, tallgrass prairie plants and animals, types of grasses, role of fire, need for conservation of last 4 percent.  List of video links at the end.  Also see full Lesson Plan with Quizlets, etc.

What are the Flint Hills & Why Should We Preserve Them?

(Upper Elementary, Middle, and High School)  60+ slide presentation - Introduction to the Flint Hills: where located, types of prairie, 4 main grasses, biodiversity, geology, fire, carbon cycle, beef production, sustainability, art, recreation, public access, eco-services, need for preservation.  See Introduction to the Flint Hills Lesson Plan with review questions to go with this.

Flint Hills Songs & Songwriters

Enjoy this collection of lyrics and recordings from over 20 Flint Hills-themed songs by numerous regional songwriters.  Related LESSON offers response activities for students. 

Flint Hills Songs for Kids - My Home on the Prairie Project

(Elementary level) - History & Science Themes
  • 21 Song Recordings - Sung by students at Cassoday Primary School, Cassoday, Kansas
  • With lyrics & subject info on each
Use these songs to reinforce science & history lessons OR have your classes write their own! See simple song-writing formula on #6 My Home on the Prairie - Lyrics & Info

Flint Hills Wildflowers - Music Video & Activities 

(Upper Elementary - High School) - Music, Reading, Language Arts, Art, Social Studies, Science
Fun way to learn about 24 Flint Hills wildflowers through song lyrics illustrated with photos and plant names. Several follow-up activities to choose from in Lesson at Wildflower Music Video Lesson: plant identification & lyrics analysis, art activity, and civics lesson on non-profits.

Story of Little Bluestem - Kansas State Grass

(Elementary) Powerpoint presentation presents story of fictionalized character, Little Bluestem, and how he became Kansas’ state grass.  Additional info provided about Little Bluestem’s appearance, color, plant parts, habitat, and importance.  Ends with links to four Little Bluestem activities on-line.

Flint Hills Grasses - Stations Activity

(Elementary) Students rotate through four stations learning identifying characteristics of four principal tallgrass prairie grass species - around 5 min per station, total 20-30 minutes
NOTE:  This is a partial activity adapted from “My Book of the Flint Hills Grasses” lesson - see full lesson for full context & additional activities.  Focuses on 4 main grasses in Flint Hills Map Exhibit - Elem. Level

Seasons & Cycles Calendars 

Learn to observe and follow nature’s fascinating seasonal changes in these 9 circular, annual “calendars” and guides: on grasses & wildflowers, woodland vegetation, birds, mammals, aquatic life, insects, reptiles, amphibians, and food from the earth.   Activities for students to explore each calendar and month; also, focus on their birthday month!  [From Seasons and Cycles - Rhythms of Life in the Kansas River Watershed - by Ken Lassman]     See also our Seasonal Wheelscape LESSON

Learning in the Prairie –37 Elementary Lesson Plans

Large PDF available HERE of 223 page book.  Fun & informative activities - about all aspects of nature and prairie.  Your kids will love these!  This is an earlier publication (1990 - does not have standards/benchmarks), but these are timeless activities. Includes 6 Pre-field Modules, 15 Field Modules, 16 Post-field Modules, source lists, glossary, and informative appendices.  Wonderful resource!  
NOTE: printed copies of "Learning in the Prairie: A Resource for Elementary Teachers" by Dwight Platt may be purchased from Kauffman Museum in North Newton, Kansas, for $24 each plus shipping. Please contact Andi Andres at asa@bethelks.edu or 316-283-1612 to request a copy.