Fremont Magnet Elementary

Back to 4th Grade Science

Prairie & Grassland Ecosystems

Standard 3a Students know ecosystems can be characterized by their living and nonliving components.

Standard 3b Students know that in any particular environment, some kinds of plants and animals survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.


Home on the Range Sound Clip


1. What are grasslands

and prairies ?


Look at these pictures.  Can you see why these are called grasslands?

The kind of grassland we have in America are called prairies.

Prairies have cold winters and hot summers with a moderate amount of rain and snowfall

The soil is rich and fertile; that means it is good for growing plants. 

The fertile soil is a nonliving component of the prairie ecosystem.

2. What are some special features of prairie life?


You may have noticed that there are not a lot of places for little creatures to hide from predators.  Many prairie animals have front legs and paws that allow them to dig underground so they can stay safe from predators.

Look at the claws on this badger!

Another adaptation is the color of fur and skin. 

Many of the animals blend with the prairie landscape.


3. What kinds of animals live there?


With all that grass this is a great place for herbivores! Some herbivores that live on the prairie are:

  Black-tailed Jack Rabbit
prairie dogs bison elk jackrabbit

But there are also carnivores:

coyote fox kingsnake owl

Click here to see more prairie animals on Enchanted Learning

Which of the following makes up an ecosystem?

  All the living things on Earth
  The living and nonliving things in a particular place
The living things found in a particular place


4. Can you make a food chain?

Use this link to see some examples of prairie mammals, reptiles, birds, and insects, and make a prairie food chain.

Build A Prairie


Here's a game where you try to grow into a bigger fish without getting eaten.

National Geographic Prairie Habitat