We can divide the world into biomes, areas that are geographically distinct and have characteristic plants and animals. The desert is different from the rainforest, and the tundra is different from the ocean. Incorporate art, social studies, and science into your classroom with lesson plans focused on the biomes.
Endangered animals lesson
- Watch Joel Sartore’s video Rare. Your whole class will enjoy this close-up look at some of the endangered species of the world. This video uses pictures from National Geographic Rare: Portraits of America’s Endangered Species, a book created by Sartore.
- Do some research to identify the animals and the biomes in which they live. The book may be available at your library; if so, it would be a perfect starting point.
- Make a map for your bulletin board or a Google Earth Map overlay showing the animals and connecting them with their biomes. Use photos or student drawings to create your map. Have students write paragraphs about the animals and add these to your map or Google Earth Tour.
- Think about moving the animals from one biome to another. Would they be able to live in those places?
- We had the chance to hear Mr. Sartore speak about the work he did in creating his book, Rare, and he said that adaptable creatures will be fine. The creatures who can’t move from one type of habitat to another will have problems. Discuss this. Can you think of some adaptable creatures? What creatures seem less able to live in varied habitats?
- Watch the video again. Have students write or draw a response to the video. Add some passages from the writings to your map project.
People of the world’s biomes
- Use your textbook or state standards’ list of the world’s biomes (the lists vary from one source to another) to identify the biomes of the world.
- Divide students into groups and give each group a biome to research. Have students identify one group of people from their biome to study. A culture might be identified by the language they speak, the country where they live, etc.
- Some resources that might be helpful:
- Material World at Nova; also check out the book and the author’s supplemental materials.
- Anthropogenic Biomes at the Encyclopedia of the Earth includes a PowerPoint, a Google Earth Tour, and a printable wall map all showing the distribution of human beings in the earth’s biomes. This site is suited to high school students.
- What’s It Like Where You Live? is a human-centered look at biomes for elementary students.
- Have the groups use drawings and graphic organizers to gather the data they find.
- Have each group report to the class, explaining how the biome where their population lives affects their lives. Encourage students to think of an interesting way to present their information: perhaps music, food, or other media from the region they’ve studied would add to the experience.
- If you also did the endangered animals lesson, consider why people are able to live in many different habitats, while some other creatures cannot.