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Rhino Rescue

Stop hunting and poaching! Rhinoceroses are an endangered species in Africa. Imagine you are on a nature reserve in Botswana working to conserve these precious animals.

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. At the end of the 20th century, African rhinoceroses came close to extinction. Why? Rhino horns were very valuable. They were sold to make medicines and dagger handles. The demand for rhino horn led to mass hunting and poaching.
    2. African countries such as Botswana have game reserves that are committed to increase the numbers of rhinoceros. They are conserving rhinos in safe, heavily guarded sanctuaries. Conservationists plan to relocate and reintroduce rhinos to places they may have lived historically. Organize students into small groups in preparation for researching the long history of rhinos and their near-extinction. Provide a variety of appropriate resources for students to use during this investigation.
    3. Once each group has finished its research, invite students to cover their work areas with recycled newspaper. Use recycled boxes and Crayola® School Glue to construct a model of a four-wheel drive vehicle like one you might see on a nature reserve. Air-dry vehicles.
    4. On construction paper, students use Crayola Washable Markers to create jungle-like camouflage, crisp black and white zebra stripes, or any pattern of choice. Experiment with overlapping colors, drawing fine lines with marker tips, and making broader lines with the side of a marker. Cut the paper to fit the body of your vehicle. Glue on. Air-dry the decorated vehicle.
    5. Cut windows from white paper. Draw black silhouettes on the windows. Glue on and air-dry. Cut four circles for wheels from corrugated cardboard. Paint with Crayola Washable Tempera Paint. Air-dry wheels flat. Glue to vehicle. Air-dry vehicle on its side.
    6. Students use Model Magic to sculpt a full-grown rhinoceros, which should be approximately 2/3 the size of their vehicles. Air-dry at least 24 hours. Remind students to use their research notes to guide the creation of the rhino model.
    7. Mix black and white paint to make a gray rhinoceros color. Paint rhino models. Air-dry the animal.
    8. Students glue their rhinos and vehicles onto cardboard bases. Use markers on construction paper to draw and color bushes, grass, trees, and any other terrain. Add tabs on the bottom of drawings. Cut around drawings and tabs. Bend tabs and glue in place on cardboard base. Air-dry entire display. The class is ready for a Rhino Rescue!
    9. Provide an opportunity for each group of students to share their models and research with small groups of classmates.
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    MATH: Draw a scaled picture graph and a scaled bar graph to represent a data set with several categories. Solve one- and two-step “how many more” and “how many less” problems using information presented in scaled bar graphs.

    MATH: Add, subtract, multiply, or divide to solve one-step word problems involving masses or volumes that are given in the same units, e.g., by using drawings (such as a beaker with a measurement scale) to represent the problem.

    SCI: Use models to evaluate how environmental changes in a habitat affect the number and types of organisms that live there; some remain, move in, move out, and/or die.

    SCI: Use evidence to argue that some changes in an organism’s habitat can be beneficial or harmful to the organism.

    SCI: Obtain and communicate information about the characteristics of groups of organisms and evaluate how groups help organisms survive.

    SS: Identify examples of institutions and describe the interactions of people with institutions.

    SS: Identify and describe examples of tensions between and individual's beliefs and government policies and laws.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Who Wants a Cheap Rhinoceros? by Shel Silverstein; Black Rhino by Richard Spilsbury; Endangered Rhinoceros by Bobbie Kalman

    Working in small groups, students use a Venn diagram to compare and contrast black and white rhinos. Share findings with classmates.

    Students work individually or in teams of two to do in-depth research on a specific endangered animal. Students organize research into a written format. Compile student research into booklet form and include a student-created sketch of the endangered animal in its natural habitat to accompany the research.

    What is the average weight of a rhinoceros? Students round their weight up on down to the nearest 10 pounds. Add up the weight of all students in the class. Which weighs more, the rhino or the class of students?


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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