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Begin With a Book
Begin by reading A Zebra’s World by Caroline Arnold. This book begins when the baby zebra is only three weeks old and follows it until the zebra is one year old. There are several facts in the book. So, you need to decide which facts are most important to emphasize with your students.
Show the students a globe of the earth. Put one finger on where they live and another finger in the southern area of Africa (the book has a map for your reference). The zebra is found in Africa.
- How did the zebras help each other? Some drank water while the others kept an eye out for danger. Also, when they were running from the lion, they made sure that no zebra was left behind.
- What do the zebras eat? Zebras eat grass with their sharp teeth.
- Do zebras play with their friends like you do? Yes
- Why did the zebras take the long walk? They were going to the river for drinking water.
- Zebras can run 40 miles per hour. Compare that to a moving car on a street close to your own school.
- Lions are meat eaters and like to eat zebras.
- Zebras are related to horses but they are smaller and have stripes. They are built more like donkeys.
- Zebra stripes are like snowflakes. No two are alike.
- Would you find a zebra on a farm or in the zoo?
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Stripes and Murals
Then make a large wall mural. Students can color the green grass of the African plains. Add a river and the zebras that the students have painted or colored. The students will need help with cutting out the zebras.
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Zebra, Zebra, Zebra, Lion!
Change the familiar game “Duck, Duck, Goose” and play “Zebra, Zebra, Lion”. Not only does it get your students up and moving it will reinforce the fact that the zebra runs away from the predator lion.
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Five little zebras in the zoo door.
One ran away and then there were four.
Four little zebras saying, “Neeee, neee!”
One jumped away and then there were three.
Three little zebras, here’s someone new
It’s a lion! Now there are two.
Two little zebras, watch them run.
One was faster, now there is one.
One little zebra, looking for his friends.
The zebras all come back again!
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Your students will remember that the zebra needs to be on the lookout for lions. Zebras eat grass and play with other zebras. They can run very fast. Every zebra has a different pattern of stripes. No two are alike. Zebras are related to horses but are smaller. This preschool lesson has helped students learn all of these facts and reinforce recognition of the letter Z.
- Arnold, Caroline. A Zebra's World. Picture Window Books, 2006.
Ideas and activities come from the author's twenty-five years of teaching experience.
Author's personal sketch