Building a Prairie Dog Town with 2nd Grade

  • In The Classroom

2nd Graders have recently started learning about the animals that live on the North American prairie. They first used picture and sound clues to guess, draw, and identify some “mystery animals.” Teams then worked together to complete a STEM challenge in which they were asked to use given materials to build a model of an underground tunnel for a prairie dog town, remembering to include multiple exits and a sleeping chamber.

STEM challenges like this not only require students to think critically and problem solve creatively, but they also provide opportunities to reflect on work and discuss the effectiveness of their plans. Students are also practicing intrapersonal and interpersonal skills such as focus, time management, cooperation, and communication.

Interdependence is a key component in our conversations about life on the North American prairie. Discussions are ongoing about the many reasons pioneers settled in the west, as well as the devastating effect their new communities had on existing Indigenous communities. In the coming weeks, students will continue to learn about the flora and fauna of the Great Plains (past and present) and the efforts to help protect, preserve, and restore the biome.