A Smashing Safari: African Elephants

The African elephant is the largest land mammal on the planet. Not only do these animals offer many unique teachable moments, their sheer magnitude will be enough to snag your students’ interest. When gearing your lessons for younger students, pick out facts that they can appreciate. For instance, elephants only have four teeth that they can lose and have replaced up to six times in their lifetime. They’ll also be interested to learn that elephants can project sound up to five miles! Students will be amazed that even with the use of a megaphone or other sound amplification system, someone five miles away would never be able to hear them. It can be fun to bring a megaphone, take your students outside, and let them try! Additionally, elephants have the ability to detect water flowing beneath the ground. Using the classroom’s sand and water table you can demonstrate how elephants use their tusks, trunks, and large feet to dig for water beneath the surface. After they’ve learned what amazing creatures elephants are use fun crafts to ignite their creativity and imagination. About.com offers instruction on how to create your own elephant ears headband and trunk. Students can set up chairs in rows of two and take turns pretending they’re ‘elephant watching’ on an African safari.

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