Prairie Grasses of North America (page 2)

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Author: Janice VanCleave


A model of prairie grass is made.


Prairies can be divided by the height of its grass: tall, medium, and short. The eastern part of the North American prairie got lots of rain, and the grasses were commonly more than 48 inches (120 cm) tall, with some being 60 to 84 inches (150 to 210 cm) tall. Farther west, there was less rainfall, so instead of the very tall grasses there were medium-height grasses from 24 to 48 inches (60 to 120 cm) tall. Still farther west, in areas that received even less rainfall, the grasses were 6 to 24 inches (15 to 30 cm) tall, with some being much shorter. The model shows how the height of prairie grasses varies, depending on the average rainfall.

More Fun With Grasses!

Discover how fast grass seeds grow. Do this by filling a shallow plastic container or small plastic saucer (one that goes under flowerpots) about three-fourths full with potting soil. Smooth the surface of the soil, then use a pencil to dig out trenches about 1⁄4 inch (0.63 cm) deep in the shape of your initial. Sprinkle grass seeds, such as rye grass, in the trenches. Cover the trenches with soil. Use a spray bottle to spray the surface of the soil with water. Moisten the soil, but do not make it dripping wet. Spray the surface of the soil every day or as often as necessary to keep it moist. When the seeds sprout, your garden will have grass growing in the shape of your initial.

Prairie Grasses

Book List

  • Fredricks, Anthony D. Simple Nature Experiments with Everyday Materials. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., 1995. Facts, illustrations, and creative projects about soil and other nature topics.
  • VanCleave, Janice. Ecology for Every Kid. New York: Wiley, 1996. Fun, simple ecology experiments, including information about grasslands.
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