How to Make a Grassland Ecosystem Diorama

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Craft a grassland home for clay animals.
Craft a grassland home for clay animals. (Image: JackF/iStock/Getty Images)

Putting all grassland elements together in a diorama is an interesting and interactive way to learn how the ecosystem works. Use a shoebox or packing box to hold the diorama. Regional grasslands have different soils, plants and animals, so choose a savanna setting such as Africa or temperate-climate grassland like the American prairie. Layer in the elements of the region from the bottom up, paying attention to what is native to the chosen area.

Things You'll Need

  • Box
  • Glue
  • Grasses or construction paper
  • Dried flowers (optional)
  • Dirt
  • Lightweight cardboard
  • Crayons or markers
  • Paint
  • Animal figurines (optional)
  • Modeling clay (optional)
  • Plastic insects (optional)
  • Insect stickers (optional)
  • Paper (optional)

Paint the box to set the background for the diorama. The bottom of the box can be painted dirt brown, while the sides can be green to match the grasses or blue for a sky backdrop. Acrylic paints work best on glossy boxes or boxes with printed words that need to be covered up.

Add a layer of dirt to the bottom of the box. Glue in gathered grasses or create grass by cutting construction paper into a rectangle. Cut blades of grass into one of the long edges of the construction paper. Place a fold on the bottom of the construction paper and place the glue on the folded strip. Grasslands often have flowers, so add paper or dried flowers as well, if desired.

Draw animals on lightweight cardboard using crayons or markers. Animals can be printed from images found on the Internet, colored and glued to the cardboard. Cut out the animals, leaving a strip of cardboard at the bottom of the animals’ feet. Bend the strip backward and use as a tab to glue the animal into the diorama. Plastic animal figurines or toys can also be used, or animals can be created out of modeling clay. Animals for a savannah grassland diorama could include zebras, elephants, snakes or giraffes. Animals for a temperate grassland diorama could include prairie dogs, jack rabbits, deer, coyotes, foxes or mice.

Add insects, such as bees or flies, to the diorama. These can be drawn or printed from the Internet, or place insect stickers at the tops of the grasses.

Tips & Warnings

  • Grasses normally considered weeds, such as crabgrass or rye grass, look more like grassland grasses than grass from the lawn.
  • Dirt can be glued on the bottom of the diorama or left loose.
  • If using a glue stick to glue the grass and animals into place, it may be easier to glue the grass and animals in place and then place the dirt in the diorama.

References

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