Elementary K-5

See also Spreadsheet ALL LESSONS by Grade Level and Subject
*NOTE ON TRAVELING TRUNK lessons below: Though we encourage teachers to actually borrow Traveling Trunks, if that is not possible, the on-line resources for each trunk contain valuable tools & activities for lessons that can also be conducted independently.
Prairie Texture Collage - Grades K-1 

Creative hands-on activity in which young artists categorize, identify and create a collage of natural found objects of the prairie - grasses and plant parts, soil, rocks, feathers, etc. Especially identify 4 main grasses from exhibit.
Art, Science

Recipe for Prairie (Ecosystem) - Grades K-2 
*Traveling Trunk & Lesson Plans - Tallgrass Prairie Nat’l Preserve.
8 lessons: Students learn the ingredients that make the tallgrass prairie ecosystem of North American for past 10,000-15,000 years. How each ingredient is crucial: sunlight (and parts of plant), dirt (types & properties), rain (measuring & recording), fire (natural role, dangers, use as tool), grass (height, depth of roots), wildlife (life cycle of grasshopper, beginning of food web), people (3 historical periods: American Indian, white settlement, modern). Preserve & protect (prairies once vast are now fragmented; restoration efforts - how to plant native grass).
Science, Social Studies

Flint Hills Tallgrass Prairie - Your Place in Our World  (Grades K-2+)
Students answer compelling questions and complete activities along with 17-slide presentation including USA, Kansas, and county maps, photos and basic facts introducing young students to local geography, Flint Hills, tallgrass prairie plants and animals, types of grasses, role of fire, need for conservation of last 4 percent. Two levels of Quizlets for assessment.
Science, Social Studies

Make Your Own Fossil - Grades K-3 (adaptable to upper grade levels)
Students learn how Kansas & Oklahoma were once covered with a great inland sea, how our limestone was formed from these sea organisms, and about four of the main types of fossils common in the area.  Background is provided by Power Point, videos, and fact sheets.  Students make their own fossil from a plaster cast, mimicking the actual process by which fossils are formed.  Students review four common fossil types, and play a memory game with cards - matching photos to names & descriptions.
Science, Art

Seasonal Wheelscape - Outdoor Art Journal of Prairie Seasonal Changes - Grades K-3
Students learn about seasons and cycles by going to the same place in an outdoor natural area (ideally) four times during the year and using all their senses to observe what is happening in nature.  Students make a drawing of what they see, and discuss with the class what they saw and why these changes happen in nature at this time.  
Science & Art

Indian Homes in Kansas - Grade 1
*Traveling Resource Trunk - Kansas State Historical Society
8 Lesson Plans. Students explore housing styles of Indians from Kansas using this traveling resource trunk. The teaching materials contained in the trunk include reproductions of Indian artifacts, photographs and drawings, models of three historical housing styles, books, and lesson plans. The lessons reinforce the use of natural resources in building a house, adaptation to the environment, and change over time.
Social Studies and Language Arts

Celebrate Beef - Grades 1-5
Kansas Ag in Classroom lesson.
30 min. This lesson’s purpose is to show students that species, especially cattle, have migrated around the world. Students will label countries and states on a map to illustrate this. Also, students will discover the different uses for cattle in the past and in the present.
History & Geography

Learning in the Prairie - 37 LESSONS - by Dwight Platt - Grades 1-6
PDF of book of 37 Lesson Plans for elementary/middle school level. Fun and informative activities about all aspects of prairie - 6 Pre-field, 15 Field, 16 Post-field modules. Source lists, glossary, and informative appendices. You and your kids will love these! Is an earlier publication (1990), but these are timeless, academically-rich activities - i.e. grasshoppers don't change! Book may be purchased at Kauffman Museum, North Newton, call 316-283-1612.
Science, Language Arts, Art

Schools Past & Present: The One-Room School - Grade 2 
Kansas State Historical Society
This lesson helps students to compare their school with those of the past. They will use photos and an actual visit to a one-room schoolhouse to learn about schools of long ago. They will write a journal entry of their visit to the school. This lesson is planned for three days including the trip to the one-room schoolhouse.
History and Language Arts-Writing

Prairies and Grasslands - Grades 2-3

Students will read nonfiction text, discuss and brainstorm prairie facts, then write an informative summary about what they learned.(map and text related)
Reading and Writing, Science

Grass Root Systems - Grades 2-3

Students will recognize that prairie plants have extensive root systems. They will use a diagram to determine plant height and root length. Students will use a measuring tool to construct a visual from yarn. (text related)
Math, Science

Your Friends at Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve - Grades 2-4
*Traveling Trunk & Lesson Plans - Tallgrass Prairie Nat’l Preserve
7 Lesson plans are excellent way to introduce young students to tallgrass prairie. Lessons on what is a national park, interpreting history, plant science, geology, early schools, math & maps, and importance teamwork. Activities also include interpreting symbols, oral history, artifacts, learning where states got their names, concept of biodiversity and plants, features of limestone & inland sea fossils, early one-room schools and types of basic learning. Basic math lessons on range management - determining stocking rates, measuring, and lengths of fence perimeters.
Math, Social Studies, Science, Lang Arts, Visual Arts

My Book of the Flint Hills Grasses - Grades 2-4

Lesson extends concepts in the Elementary Map Exhibit Side Panel portraying the four tallgrasses and their root systems. Students create books about the Flint Hills and tallgrass prairie. First, they complete background facts about location of the Flint Hills, 3 factors that make a prairie, and importance of roots. Then, in small groups rotating through special display stations, they create field guide-type pages showing basic characteristics of the four tallgrasses. Finally, putting it altogether in a back cover illustration, they draw a small Flint Hills landscape containing the main features of the tallgrass prairie.
This is a great activity to do prior to a Field Trip where kids can use their books to identify 4 grasses.
Science, Reading, Art

TALLGRASS TILES - Big Bluestem Clay Tile Imprints Grades - Grades 2-6

Students will create a clay tile imprinted with the distinctive turkey-foot seed-head of the Big Bluestem - the tallest and most dominant of the grasses in the native Flint Hills Tallgrass Prairie.  While developing hands-on skills in this three-dimensional art activity (sculpture: intaglio/relief), student will work with actual specimens of tallgrass prairie grasses, learning the basics of grass plant anatomy and grass species identification skills.  
This fun and creative activity will enable students in the future to easily recognize and identify this signature species of the tallgrass prairie, and especially understand the function of all grass seedheads.
Science & Art

Cowboys & Cowtowns - Grade 3
Kansas State Historical Society
1-2 Class Periods. This lesson teaches students about the history of Kansas cowtowns and the role of the cowboy in Kansas history. Students will learn about the cattle drives, the cowboys who worked them and the end goal of reaching the railheads to sell cattle and ship them to other parts of the country. They will use both primary and secondary sources to gather information. They will retell the information by drawing pictures that represent the cowboys and their equipment.
Social Studies, Reading, Writing, Art

Indian Communities - Grade 3 
Kansas State Historical Society
2-3 Class Periods. This lesson is designed to teach students about four different Indian tribes that settled in Kansas. Students will be expected to examine, analyze and create a diorama of a typical tribal community. Students will compare and contrast the different Indians tribes through the use of primary and secondary resources.
Social Studies

Community Landmarks i.e. Chase County Courthouse - Grade 3 
Kansas State Historical Society
Three class periods including Field Trip. This lesson is designed specifically to introduce students to the Chase County Courthouse, but can be used as a model to help students identify and understand why a site is a landmark in any area. Students will read expository text looking for main idea and supporting details. They will use a graphic organizer to compile these details. The students will then use this graphic organizer to write a summary of the text. This lesson includes a field trip to the Chase County Courthouse and is designed to take three class periods.
Social Studies

Prairie Plants - Grades 3-4

Students explore biodiversity, view introductory powerpoints, read background info, perform card activities, keep notebook plant journal, perform assessment, take field trip if possible, includes numerous references.
Science, Art, Social Studies, Language Arts

Birds of the Tallgrass - Grades 3-4
*Traveling Trunk & Lesson Plans - Tallgrass Prairie Nat’l Preserve.
7 Lessons: Students will learn about the physical properties of birds including wing shapes and uses, purpose & structure of feathers, types of beaks and legs, major habitats in the tallgrass prairie, major flyways of North America, importance of habitat for migratory birds, how research is done today versus 19th century, songs of select birds of tallgrass habitats, use of binoculars & birdwatching techniques. Includes games for practice in identifying birds, using concentration and memory skills.

American Indians - Grades 3-4
*Traveling Trunk & Lesson Plans - Tallgrass Prairie Nat’l Preserve.
9 Lessons. Plains tribes, Flint Hills tribes. Origins and cultural structure of the Kaw, Wichita, Pawnee, and Osage Nations. Including social patterns, lodges, hunting, farming, spirituality, etc. Use of special native plants for survival. Students will learn the reasons for Indian removal. - Students will learn about the different treaties. - Students will learn where the different tribes were relocated.
Social Studies

American Cowboy - Grades 3-4 https://www.nps.gov/common/uploads/teachers/lessonplans/Cowboytrunk2013.pdf
*Traveling Trunk & Lesson Plans - Tallgrass Prairie Nat’l Preserve.
7 Lessons: Origins of cowboy, role in settling wests, economics of cattle industry. Cowboy special clothing - types and purposes. Tools and equipment, saddle & tack. How to saddle a horse. Techniques of trail driving cattle, positions in herd, daily life on trail. Jobs of ranch hands on Spring Hill Ranch (where TPNP is located today). Today’s cowboys, type of work, preserving way of life.
Science, Social Studies, Language Arts

Tallgrass Wildlife - Grades 3-4
*Traveling Trunk & Lesson Plans - Tallgrass Prairie Nat’l Preserve.
9 lessons: Historic Wildlife - pre-settlement animals, why some no longer here. Basic skills of nature observation. Tracks and signs of common animals. Which animals are common today. Large mammals and reintroduction of Bison. Characteristics of smaller mammals’ life cycles & sounds. Difference between reptiles & amphibians, life cycles, types. Common insects, life cycles; butterflies & migration; grasshoppers. Types of aquatic habitat: springs, streams, ponds; fish stocking.
Science, Social Studies, Language Arts

Exploring Climate Science (Climate Change) - Grades 3-5
National Park Service
Students will explore causes of climate change and discuss impacts on the environment. Students will be able to: List three causes of climate change, Describe at least two impacts to the environment caused by climate change. 60 minutes.

Pollinators - Grades 3-6 
Kansas Ag in Classroom lesson.
Students will design flowers to attract pollinators and study the attractive quality of colors, shapes and patterns to help understand the different types of pollinators and their relationship to the life cycle of the flower, and why pollinators are necessary to help provide the food that we eat
Science, Language Arts

Edible Soil Profile & Soil Erosion Pans - Grades 3-5
Kansas Ag in Classroom lesson.
Soil Profile - 40 min. Erosion Pans - 30 min. Soil is one of our most important natural resources. It is the Earth’s living skin. Soil is the naturally occurring mixture of minerals, organic matter, water and air, all of which combine to form the surface of the Earth. Students will create an edible soil profile, study how soils are formed and use soil erosion pans to help them understand the soil structure, layers and the importance of soil conservation.
Science & Social Studies

Trading on the Santa Fe Trail - Grade 4
*Traveling Resource Trunk - Kansas State Historical Society
Students explore the Santa Fe Trail through a sampling of the goods that traveled between the United States and Mexico in the 1800s. Manufactured items from the eastern coast of the United States and Europe made up the bulk of the goods traveling to Mexico. Furs, wool fleeces and woven goods, silver and mules traveled from Mexico for trade in the United States. Students practice historical thinking, interpretation, reading, research, and writing.
Language Arts & Social Studies

Vice-President of United States - Charles Curtis - Notable Kansan & Native American-Grd 4 
Kansas State Historical Society
This lesson will give students the opportunity to explore primary and secondary sources. Students will first examine primary sources and make inferences about Charles Curtis' life. Then, students will prove or disprove their inferences after reading an article (secondary source) about Curtis' life. This lesson plan is intended to cover the span of 2-3 days
Social Studies and Reading

Daily Life on the Santa Fe Trail - Grade 4
Kansas State Historical Society
5 Class Periods (can be adjusted). The lesson is designed to be part of a unit to compare and contrast the Oregon-California and Santa Fe Trails. The students will complete the Read Kansas! lessons I-6 Trade and Travel on the Overland Trails and I-7 Life on the Trails. Then students will focus on the hardships on the Santa Fe Trail. Finally the students will create a Venn diagram to compare and contrast the two trails and write a paragraph to show which trail he/she would choose when traveling to the West.
Social Studies and Language Art

Kansas County Fairs Through the Years - Grade 4
Kansas State Historical Society
3 class periods. This lesson allows the students to work with primary sources. Several primary sources are presented that give clues to the experience of attending a county fair over one hundred years ago. This lesson helps the students find clues in the primary sources. Using the primary sources, students will compare and contrast local entertainment from the past to the present. In addition, students will successfully demonstrate the acquired knowledge orally and in written form. Contains differentiation and extensions to meet the individual needs of the learners
History, Language Arts Speaking & Writing

American Bison- Grades 4-5 
*Traveling Trunk & Lesson Plans - Tallgrass Prairie Nat’l Preserve.
7 lessons: Bison - scientific name and reason for taxonomy; Natural History of Bison - adaptation of species & life cycle; Bison & Habitat - effect of Bison grazing on prairie; Bison range reduction, food webs; American Indians & Bison - role in daily life and cultural traditions; Early Buffalo Hunt - different hunting techniques over time; Destruction of Bison - economics of decline with westward expansion, near extinction; Bison Conservation Efforts - public & private, bison as American symbol.
Science, Social Studies, Language Arts, Math

Water Beneath My Feet (Water Aquifers & Landfills)- Grades 4-5 
Kansas Ag in Classroom lesson
Students will become familiar with unconfined and confined aquifers and identify different aquifers in Kansas. In addition, students will also construct a model landfill. 45 minutes + 5-10 minutes each day for 10 days.