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Build a Desert

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Hands on Biome-Building

Objective:

The objective of this project is to have students build a model biome so that they gain and understanding of the abiotic and biotic factors that help create that biome.

Procedure:

To build this model-biome students should bring with them a box of at least 1 foot by 1 foot and construct a biome within it. Inside the box the students should put representative plants and animals. They should show the terrain of the land (ie. mountains, streams or underwater terrain). The inside can be painted and decorated as they please. The outside of the box should display the following material:

  • elevation
  • precipitation levels
  • temperature
  • plants
  • animals
  • world map showing the location of this biome

Extensions:

Creative writing:

Have the students pretend to be a plant or animal and write an autobiography about themselves. They should include life history information from birth do death. Have them describe their daily interactions with abiotic and biotic factors in the environment. What do they do everyday?

Explain WHY you chose the biome and the organism that you wrote about.

Interdisciplinary Project:

Students should identify a scientist in the Biomes of the World pages that he or she would like to become. They should read up on their scientist to see what it takes to be them! They should find out where that person in working presently. With this information they can get maps, photos, and information on the climate, wildlife, points of interest and recreational opportunities in the area. This research should be done in the library and on the internet.

The student will then play the role of either:

  • The scientist (which he choses) and have them explain what the current research questions are.
  • A forest ranger who is giving a tour of the area that the scientist works in.

Adapted from Biomes in a Box by:

Anne McDonald and Michael O'Hare
1991 Woodrow Wilson Biology Institute

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