The Waterhole by Australian author Graeme Base is one of our all time favourite children’s book to read. It is a very simple story about a group of animals gathering around a waterhole. As the story continues the waterhole begins to shrink and eventually dries up but then the rains come… The book is set in different countries and shows their wildlife. There is even a famous landmark hidden in the background of each page so you know which location the animals are from. For example, on the first page you know that you are in Africa because you can see Mount Kilimanjaro in the distance. Likewise you can see the Taj Mahal on the Indian page and on the Australian page you can see Uluru.
There are frogs in each scene of the book and as the waterhole dries up we see less and less frogs. Frogs are ‘bio-indicators’, which simply means they show the health of our environment where we live.
Both Pernella & Charlie love anything and everything about animals & frogs so I decided that the Waterhole would make a great science, social study, art and geography lesson for term one.
We got a A4 excercise book, photocopied the front cover of the Waterhole and stuck it on the front. Covered it with clear contact.
After learning about the author/illustrator we spent a lot of time studying about frogs. We learnt about their life-cycle, different species, parts of a frog, their diet, habitats, classification and predators. When we first started this study it was our rainy season and the children got to collect frog sporn in our garden. We made a pond and watched the tadpoles hatch into frogs We documented everything and took photos and stuck them in our book.
We then next spent time exploring the different countries in the book. We learnt where they were on the map, a little bit about their culture, famous landmarks and the children chose a animal from the region to study.
We also looked at the rivers and streams around the world, the ecosystem, about rain and the water cycle and the extinction of animals and reptiles. We went to the museum to see their rainforest display and we did a lot of nature walks outside looking for frogs. We even found a frog at the beach. We watched DVD's on the different animals around the world and read lots of books. We also looked in newspapers to find any interesting articles on wildlife.
The children really enjoyed doing this study and putting their books together. We all learnt so much and it didn't feel like school work at all - big grin...
Some great resources we used were:
National Geographic kids