BIOMES: OUR EARTH S MAJOR LIFE ZONES

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1 BIOMES: OUR EARTH S MAJOR LIFE ZONES

2 Biomes Our Earth s Major Life Zones catalog #2856 Teacher s Guide Produced by... Creative Adventures Teacher s Guide Written by... Mary Maio Published & Distributed by AGC/UNITED LEARNING 1560 Sherman Avenue Suite 100 Evanston, IL Hour Fax No Website:

3 This video is the exclusive property of the copyright holder. Copying, transmitting, or reproducing in any form, or by any means, without prior written permission from the copyright holder is prohibited (Title 17, U.S. Code Sections 501 and 506). MCMXCVIII Creative Adventures

4 BIOMES: Our Earth s Major Life Zones Teacher s Guide Table of Contents Introduction...1 Links to Curriculum Standards...1 Summary of the Video...1 Teacher Preparation...2 Instructional Notes...3 Student Preparation...4 Student Objectives...5 Class Preparation...6 Video Quiz...7 View the Video...8 Follow-Up Discussion...8 Follow-Up Activities...9 Resources for Students and Teachers...10 Extended Learning Activities Bibliography...12 Answer Key...12 Additional United Learning Titles...21 Internet Resources...22 Script of Narration...23 This video is closed captioned The purchase of this video program entitles the user to the right to reproduce or duplicate, in whole or in part, this teacher's guide and the blackline master handouts that accompany it for the purpose of teaching in conjunction with this video, Biomes: Our Earth s Major Life Zones. This right is restricted only for use with this video program. Any reproduction or duplication in whole or in part of this guide and the blackline master handouts for any purpose other than for use with this video program is prohibited.

5 CLASSROOM/LIBRARY VIEWING CLEARANCE This program is for instructional use. The cost of each program includes public performance rights as long as no admission charge is made. Public performance rights are defined as viewing of a video in the course of face-to-face teaching activities in a classroom, library, or similar setting devoted to instruction. Closed Circuit Rights are included as a part of the public performance rights as long as closed-circuit transmission is restricted to a single campus. For multiple locations, call your United Learning representative. Television/Cable/Satellite Rights are available. Call your United Learning representative for details. Duplication Rights are available if requested in large quantities. Call your United Learning representative for details. Quantity Discounts are available for large purchases. Call your United Learning representative for information and pricing. Discounts, and some special services, are not applicable outside the United States. Your suggestions and recommendations are welcome. Feel free at any time to call United Learning at

6 BIOMES: OUR EARTH S MAJOR LIFE ZONES Teacher s Guide Grades 5-8 Introduction BIOMES: OUR EARTH S MAJOR LIFE ZONES offers general information and descriptions of nine of the most common terrestrial biomes, five of the main marine biomes, and two of the standing water biomes. The program is intended for grades five through eight. The program s goals are to help students define and describe these fourteen biomes, explain what constitutes a biome, and identify how the physical environment affects the living environment. Links to Curricular Standards BIOMES: OUR EARTH S MAJOR LIFE ZONES covers the following concepts outlined by the National Science Education Standards for Life Science, grades five through eight: In any particular environment, the growth and survival of organisms depend on the physical conditions. Two types of organisms may interact with one another in several ways: They may be producer/consumer or predator/prey. Summary of the Video A biome is most often identified as a geographical area filled with a major community of plants and animals. Each biome is characterized by a particular type of climate, vegetation, and animal life. Quantity of light energy, amount of water, soil composition, available nutrients, and range of temperature often determine the size, quantity, and variety of plant and animal life. Terrestrial biomes are most often classified by their dominant plant life. Aquatic biomes are usually named by their physical features. 1

7 BIOMES: OUR EARTH S MAJOR LIFE ZONES defines and briefly describes the following biomes in the following sequence: TERRESTRIAL Tropical rain forest Desert Temperate deciduous forest Grassland Chaparral Temperate rain forest Taiga Arctic tundra Alpine tundra AQUATIC: FRESH WATER Ponds or lakes: oxygen-rich, little nutrients Ponds or lakes: oxygen-poor, much nutrients AQUATIC: MARINE Coastal waters Near shore zone Coral reefs Open ocean Vent communities While viewing BIOMES: OUR EARTH S MAJOR LIFE ZONES, the viewer is encouraged to identify the biome in which he or she lives. The emphasis of this program is to introduce the concepts and show the relationships between organisms and their environment. Teacher Preparation Before showing the program BIOMES: OUR EARTH S MAJOR LIFE ZONES to your class, it is suggested that you are able to identify the type of biome in which you and your students live. A biome is a large geographical area filled with a major community of plants and animals. The most common terrestrial biomes are tropical rain forest, desert, temperate deciduous forest, grassland, chaparral or 2

8 temperate shrubland, temperate rain forest, coniferous forest or taiga, arctic tundra, and alpine tundra. Even if you live in a city, try to identify the outlying natural areas to determine the biome in which you live. By knowing if you live in a deciduous forest biome or grassland biome, you will aid in the discussion questions, which are stated in this teacher s guide and are found on Blackline Master #6. If you are unaware of the type of biome in which you live, then, while previewing the program, use the information presented to help guide you in your identification. The biomes shown in BIOMES: OUR EARTH S MAJOR LIFE ZONES are the most commonly identified. If your general area does not display the same types of plants and animals shown on this program, then it may be helpful to contact a local college science department, zoo, or botanical society. The Internet could also be a help. It is important that you are correct in your biome identification. By identifying the type of biome in which you live and by helping your students to identify it correctly, you will greatly enhance the learning experience of this lesson. Instructional Notes As always, it is suggested that, before presenting this lesson to your students, you preview the video and review this guide and the accompanying blackline master activities in order to familiarize yourself with their content. As you review the materials presented in this guide, you may find it necessary to make some changes, additions, or deletions to meet the specific needs of your class. We encourage you to do so, for only by tailoring this program to your class will they obtain the maximum instructional benefits afforded by the materials. It is also suggested that the video presentation take place before the entire group under your supervision. The les- 3

9 son activities grow out of the context of the video; therefore, the presentation should be a common experience for all students. Student Preparation Before viewing BIOMES: OUR EARTH S MAJOR LIFE ZONES, introduce or review with your students the following vocabulary terms and definitions. These words are also found on Blackline Master #5: Vocabulary Words. algae: marine or freshwater plants with no true stems or leaves agriculture: large cultivation of the land alpine: of high mountains aquatic: taking place in or on water biomes: geographical areas filled with a major community of plant and animal life climate: those aspects of the weather such as temperature, rainfall, and light which influence the life of organisms community: all the organisms living in a particular area coniferous: of cone-bearing trees, such as pines and their relatives. Note: The vast majority of conifers are evergreen trees, however, a few exceptions exist and there are actually several species of deciduous conifers. deciduous: shedding its leaves annually decomposition: the process by which organisms cause decay desert: barren, often sandy, area ecosystem: all the organisms present in a particular area, together with their physical environment grassland: wide, grass-covered area with few trees latitude: distance of a place from the equator, measured in degrees nutrient: any chemical that an organism must take from its environment in order to survive precipitation: condensation of water vapor predator: animal that preys on another organism 4

10 savanna: grassy flat land in hot regions with few trees temperate: climate without extremes of heat and cold terrestrial: of or living on land transpiration: loss of water by evaporation through a plant s pores tropics: line of latitude 24 degrees north or south of the equator tundra: a treeless geographical area where the subsoil is frozen vents: openings in the earth found at the ocean s bottom, look like small volcanoes Also, review with your students basic world geography concepts, including the following: names of the continents, mountains, regions, plains, deserts, fresh water environments, the oceans, the coastal waters, the equator, latitudes, and the Arctic circle. A map of the world would also aid in this review. Student Objectives After viewing the video and participating in the lesson activities, the students will be able to: 1. Define the vocabulary words biome, decomposition, agriculture, tropics, alpine, tundra, algae, deciduous, temperate, grassland, latitude, conifers, predator, terrestrial, aquatic, precipitation, savanna, vents, transpiration, nutrient, ecosystem, desert, community, and climate 2. Describe some of the ways the physical environment affects the living environment, such as soil composition, amount of annual precipitation, and range of temperatures. 3. Describe and define the following biomes: Alpine and Arctic Tundra Coniferous and Deciduous Forests Temperate and Tropical Rain Forests Deserts Grasslands Chaparral or Temperate Shrublands Marine and Freshwater Aquatic Areas 5

11 Class Preparation Before presenting the video, we suggest the following steps: 1. Ask the students if they can identify and describe the different kinds of life zones of the world and to include the plants and animals of each zone. Next, distribute Blackline Master #1: Pre-Test to each student. Inform the students that you want to see what they presently know about the different biomes of the world. This Pre-Test will also aid in evaluating comprehension of the Student Objectives before and after completing this lesson; it may be contrasted with Blackline Masters #8a-8b: Post-Test to gauge the success of the lesson. After the students have completed filling in the answers, collect the sheets, correct and grade them, and place them in their portfolios or your files. An Answer Key appears on pages of this guide. 2. Distribute to each student eight copies of Blackline Master #2: Interactivity Worksheet: Terrestrial Biomes, one copy of Blackline Master #3: Interactivity Worksheet: Aquatic Biomes: Freshwater, and two copies of Blackline Master #4: Interactivity Worksheet: Aquatic Biomes: Marine. These sheets should be used during the viewing of the video to profile each biome presented. Introduce the definition of biomes - geographical areas or zones filled with a major community of plants and animals. Explain to the students that they are about to see a program that will introduce to them the most common biomes of the world. There are biomes on land, called terrestrial biomes; biomes found in lakes and ponds, called freshwater biomes; and biomes in the ocean waters, called marine biomes. The name of the program they will see is Biomes: Our Earth s Major Life Zones. 3. Have the students review the categories of Blackline Master #2: Interactivity Worksheet: Terrestrial Biomes. Go over any terms that are unclear to the students. The 6

12 categories Characteristic Landscape and Main Feature are general categories which the students will need to interpret from the visuals and the information given. The B section of this activity sheet asks the students to draw a landscape of each biome and should be completed as time allows in class or as homework. 4. Have the students review the categories of Blackline Master #3: Interactivity Worksheet: Aquatic Biomes: Freshwater and Blackline Master #4: Interactivity Worksheet: Aquatic Biomes: Marine. Go over any terms that are unclear to the students. Note: Not every category will be filled in while viewing the program BIOMES: OUR EARTH S MAJOR LIFE ZONES. Encourage the students to do extra research on the aquatic biomes and to fill in the missing information at that time. The purpose of the Blackline Master activities is to involve the students in their learning of the different biomes and to fulfill the objectives of describing and defining sixteen of the earth s most common biomes. 5. Explain to the students that, while they are watching the program and are given information on the different biomes, they will be completing this information on their Interactivity Worksheets, placing the data in the proper categories. Note: Students may need to view the program several times so to be able to complete each and every category of their eleven worksheets. These worksheets should also be part of their portfolio. Video Quiz Immediately following the credits at the end of the video program, a Video Quiz is presented. To help students who are visual learners, Blackline Master #7: Video Quiz provides the same questions in written form, and may be used to record answers. The Quiz may be taken immediately 7

13 following the video or at a later date after the students have participated in other related activities. An Answer Key appears on pages of this guide. View the Video Show the program, BIOMES: OUR EARTH S MAJOR LIFE ZONES. The viewing time is 26 minutes. Follow-Up Discussion It is recommended that you involve the students in a brief discussion after viewing the video. To help students who are visual learners, distribute Blackline Master #6: Discussion Questions. Introduce the following questions and help students to identify the biome in which they live. Rewind the video and play the sections that may help students identify information that will aid in their discussion. A globe or world map would also aid in clarifying some of the information presented in this discussion. The students may also use their Interactivity Worksheets in their discussion. 1. In what biome do you think you live? 2. What type of climate do you experience? 3. How close to the equator do you live? 4. What are the types of plant and animal populations that live in your biome? 5. Which biomes have you visited: tropical rain forest, desert, temperate deciduous forest, grasslands, chaparral, temperate rain forest, coniferous forest, tundra, lake or pond, coastal waters, deep ocean, coral reef? 6. Which biomes would you like to visit and why? 7. How do the climatic factors such as temperature, rainfall, and light affect the plant and animal life of a biome? 8. How does soil composition affect the number and types of organisms an environment can support? 9. Give an example from any biome how two types of organisms may interact with each other in the following ways: plant/plant eater, predator/prey. 8

14 Follow-Up Activities There are nine blackline master activity sheets provided for this program s lesson. Besides the Pre-Test, the other activity sheets may be used during the program presentation, immediately following the program presentation, during other class time, or as homework assignments. Answers for the activity sheet for this program s lesson are found in the Answer Key on pages Materials Needed for Blackline Master Activities Pen and pencil File folder for portfolio Blackline Master #2: colored pencils or markers [optional] Blackline Master #5: dictionary Blackline Master #6: world map or globe 1. Distribute Blackline Master #5: Vocabulary Worksheet. Students may use a dictionary to help them match the letter of the definition with its term. The purpose of this activity is to reinforce the vocabulary and concepts presented in the program. The objective is to help students define the vocabulary words and to define the sixteen major biomes. 2. Distribute Blackline Masters #8a-8b: Post-Test. The purpose of this activity is to evaluate the students comprehension of the Student Objectives for the lesson. Go over the answers in class, or collect the sheets and correct and grade them according to your grading system. Later, compare the results of the Pre-Test with those of the Post-Test to evaluate the degree of the students comprehension. The portfolio folder could also be included for your students final assessment. 9

15 Resources for Students and Teachers Following is a list of organizations that may be resources for additional information for you and your students. 1. American Forestry Association, th Street, NW, Washington, DC, Concerned with soil and forest conservation, reforestation, creation of parks, and the role of trees in combating pollution. Publishes American Forests. 2. American Society for Environmental Education, P.O. Box 800, Hanover, NH, Educational materials for teachers and the public. Publishes Environmental Education Report. 3. Center for Marine Conservation, 1725 DeSales Street, NW, Washington, D.C., Publishes the quarterly Marine Conservation News, which reports progress and problems with marine mammals, fish stocks, offshore drilling, and other matters that affect the environmental health of the ocean. 4. Conservation International, th Street, NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC, A private nonprofit scientific organization dedicated to saving biodiversity in endangered rain forests and other ecosystems worldwide. CI arranged the first debt-for-nature swap in United Nations Environment Programme, P.O. Box 30552, Nairobi, Kenya. In charge of the United Nations work to pass international treaties protecting the environment. 6. World Wildlife Fund, th Street, NW, Washington, DC, An influential international organization devoted to conservation, research, and education. 7. The Jane Goodall Institute, P.O. Box 599, Ridgefield, CT, Founded Roots and Shoots, an international program for youth aiming to integrate educational goals, environmental awareness, animal welfare, and community involvement. Through constructive activities, both in and out of the classroom, young people become more aware of their actions and how they affect their local communities and the environment as a whole. 10

16 Extended Learning Activities 1. Assign students to write reports about one or several of the terrestrial biomes: rain forest, desert, temperate deciduous forest, temperate rain forest, coniferous forest or taiga, grasslands, temperate shrublands or chaparral, alpine or arctic tundra. 2. Using their Interactivity Worksheets, have the students write comparison/contrast essays on the following paired biomes: tropical rain forest/desert, coniferous forest/deciduous forest, arctic tundra/grassland, coastal marine waters/deep ocean. Encourage the students to explain why each biome is similar and different from the other. 3. Provide materials for the students to make a terrarium or a mini forest. Have each student bring a large plastic soda bottle; if possible, the kind with the black portion at the bottom. Separate the black portion from the rest of the container by cutting just above the black layer; or if they were not able to bring that kind of bottle, have them cut at the same approximate area. Place a layer of gravel or small pebbles about one inch deep in the bottom section of the bottle. Next, place about a half inch layer of sand over the gravel or small pebbles. Then, over the sand, spread a layer of planting soil about one inch deep. Provide each student with bird seed, an acorn, or small tree seedling, or other seeds that can be collected if you are near a forest or nursery. After the students have planted their seeds, have them water the soil enough to moisten it and then cover the terrarium with the upper part of the bottle. Keep the terrariums alive by placing them in a sunny location. Take care not to place them in direct sunlight for too long of a period or the mini-biome will overheat the plants. The plastic covering will help the terrariums to make their own water. A desert mini-environment could be made with a small quantity of planting soil mixed in with one inch more of sand. Plant with smaller versions of the desert s vegetation. A tropical rain forest could be planted with small houseplants such as ficus, callandria, and dieffenbachia. Point out to the 11

17 students how important it is for them to associate the fact that their mini-environments should experience the same climatic and environmental conditions as the world s environments. Students should monitor the progress of their plantings and record their findings. Note: Aquatic environments could also be constructed in larger containers more suitable to the plant and animal life. See your library or pet store to learn how to construct a fresh water or marine mini-environment successfully. Bibliography Arms, Karen. Environmental Science, Second Edition. Saunders College Publishing, a Harcourt Brace College Publisher, Orlando, Florida, USA, Encyclopedia Americana Oram, Raymond F. Teacher s Annotated Edition, Biology: Living Systems. Charles E. Merrill Publishing Company, A Bell and Howell Company, Columbus, Ohio, USA, World Book Encyclopedia Answer Key Blackline Master #1: Pre-Test 1. T 2. F 3. F 4. deciduous 5. two of the following should be listed: rivers, streams, lakes, ponds 6. trees 7. desert 8. agriculture 9. chaparral 10. trees 12

18 Blackline Master #2: Interactivity Worksheet: Terrestrial Biomes Tropical Rain Forest A. 1. tropical rain forest 2. located in the topics and receives very high levels of rain, and the dominant life form is trees 3. thousands of different tree species whose broad evergreen leaves block out much of the sunlight to the forest 4. Annual rainfall varies from 100 to 160 inches, or 254 or 406 centimeters. The temperatures average from 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, or 27 to 32 degrees Celsius. There are no freezing temperatures and no seasons. 5. Soil is often thin and deficient of nutrients due to the surrounding life s ability to absorb the forest s decomposed organic matter efficiently. 6. Trees that are tall with slender trunks that branch only near the top are called the canopy. The average tree height exceeds 100 feet, or 30 meters. 7. monkeys, colorful birds, frogs, reptiles, mammals, and a huge variety of insects 8. much rain and many tall trees B. The illustrations will vary but should show graphically some of the above information. Deserts A. 1. desert 2. comes from the Latin word desertus, which means abandoned, forsaken, left, or lying waste 3. The landscape often supports little life of any kind, and the terrain is dominated by rocks, sand, and overall poor soil. Plant life varies considerably because of the great variety of desert conditions. 4. precipitation is less than 10 inches, or 25 centimeters, a year 5. Soil is poor. 13

19 6. Areas that receive more than an inch, or two centimeters, of rain a year have highly specialized plants. Many plants are annuals; most plants are perennials. 7. birds, snakes, tortoises, rodents, big horn sheep. 8. dry land B. The illustrations will vary but should show graphically some of the above information. Temperate Deciduous Forest A. 1. temperate deciduous forest 2. Typically, the temperatures are moderate or temperate, and the dominant life forms are trees which lose their leaves, known as deciduous trees. 3. many trees 4. cold winters, warm summers, abundant rainfall is distributed throughout the year 5. soil is rich with nutrients of minerals 6. deciduous trees such as beech, oak, maple, and hickory 7. earthworms, birds, deer, fox, squirrels, and raccoons 8. deciduous trees B. The illustrations will vary but should show graphically some of the above information. Grasslands A. 1. grasslands 2. Area is mostly covered with grass and there is not enough precipitation for the area to support trees. 3. typically treeless land covered with grasses 4. Precipitation is more than 10 inches, or 25 centimeters, a year but not enough to support tree growth. 5. Soil is most fertile and the has the deepest topsoil in the world. 6. grass, and domesticated grasses such as wheat Savanna: grass and scattered trees such as acacias, baobab 14

20 trees, euphorbias, and palms 7. bison, cattle, horses, and sheep, pronghorn antelope, coyotes, ground squirrels, and rattle snakes. Savanna: giraffes, antelope, wildebeests, zebras, lions, cheetahs, hyenas. 8. Breadbaskets of the World B. The illustrations will vary but should show graphically some of the above information. Chaparral A. 1. temperate shrubland, chaparral 2. The name chaparral refers to the evergreen oak called the Spanish Chapparo. 3. may have hills with evergreen shrubs 4. Winters are cool and rainy, and the summers are hot with very little or no rain. 5. The precipitation is great enough that it leaches the soil of much of its nutrients, therefore the soil is poor. 6. Short woody plants with simple evergreen leaves. Sage and manzanita are often found to be aromatic with flammable compounds. In some plants species, fires stimulate seed germination.. 7. Great Horned Owls, chipmunks, lizards 8. Fires are frequent. B. The illustrations will vary but should show graphically some of the above information. Temperate Rain Forest A. 1. temperate rain forest 2. The weather is temperate, yet with much rain and the dominant life forms are trees. 3. many tall trees 4. Climate receives between 150 to 200 inches, or 381 to 508 centimeters, of rain annually and the temperatures rarely 15

21 drop below freezing. 5. acidic soil with some nutrients 6. conifers, such as redwood, spruce, fir, pine, and hemlock 7. deer, salmon, and arachnids 8. very tall trees B. The illustrations will vary but should show graphically some of the above information. Taiga A. 1. taiga or northern coniferous forest 2. The word taiga is a Siberian word meaning primeval forest and the dominant life forms are coniferous trees. 3. many coniferous trees 4. Climate is characterized generally by long, cold winters, allowing only a short growing season in the summer. The winters are colder and the precipitation is much less than the temperate rain forest. 5. soil that is either very cold or very dry 6. conifers 7. deer, elk, caribou, mountain lions, timber wolves, black bears, chipmunks, and beavers. 8. evergreen trees B. The illustrations will vary but should show graphically some of the above information. Tundra A. 1. tundra 2. The word tundra is a Lapp, or Russian, word meaning treeless plains of northern regions. 3. Low, dwarfed grasses and sedges arranged in a mosaic, multi-shaped pattern. For most of the year, the landscape is covered with snow. 4. For most of the year, the dark nights are long and the 16

22 climate is extremely cold and dry Alpine tundra: During the summer, the climate exhibits intense sunshine, prevalent winds, and highly variable precipitation. During the winter, the precipitation is mostly snow. 5. thin layer of soil; the deeper layers of soil are frozen 6. low, dwarfed grasses and sedges arranged in a mosaic, multi shaped pattern; no trees 7. caribou, migratory birds, arctic hare, fox, owls, and lemmings 8. treeless plain B. The illustrations will vary but should show graphically some of the above information. Blackline Master #3: Interactivity Worksheet: Aquatic Biomes: Fresh Water A. 1. polar ice caps 2. glaciers 3. stored in the ground 4. rivers 5. streams 6. ponds 7. lakes B. 1. cool, clear 2. rich 3. little 4. trout C. 1. less clear, murky 2. little 3. catfish and bass 17

23 Blackline Master #4: Interactivity Worksheet: Aquatic Biomes: Marine Coastal Waters 1. coastal waters 2. near shore waters 3. algae 4. clams, crabs, barnacles, and sea anemones 5. Coastal rivers also supply many nutrients to the abundant and diverse life. Because of the rising and falling of the tides, the plants and animals must survive exposures to both air and water. Near Shore Zone 1. near shore zone 2. the ocean 3. kelp 4. fish 5. no direct exposure to air Coral Reefs 1. coral reefs 2. warm tropical waters 3. [No answer] 4. sponges, sea anemones, and hundreds of species of fish 5. diverse community of plants and animals Open Ocean 1. open ocean 2. ocean 3. phytoplankton 4. zooplankton, fish, and sea mammals such as whales 5.[ No answer] Vent Communities 1. vent communities 2. the great depths of the abyssal zone 3. [No answer] 4. clams, white crabs, tube worms 5. there is no light 18

24 Blackline Master #5: Vocabulary Worksheet 1. G 13. C 2. I 14. D 3. N 15. H 4. R 16. K 5. S 17 T 6. O 18. W 7. E 19. P 8. J 20. B 9. M 21. V 10. L 22. A 11. X 23. F 12. Q 24. U Blackline Master #6: Discussion Questions 1. The answer will be determined by the teacher. 2. The answer will be determined by the teacher. 3. The answer will be determined by the teacher. 4. The answer will be determined by the teacher. 5. Answers will vary. 6. Answers will vary. 7. When temperatures are constant and too extreme, such as the below-freezing temperatures often experienced in the tundra, then the growing season is short and the ground cannot support plant forms such as trees. If there is much rainfall, than the plant and animal life is abundant. If there is little light energy reaching the forest floor, then the quantity of plant life is less. 8. Nutrient-rich soil with adequate supplies of water supports an abundance of plant life. 9. Plants, such as grass, and plant eaters, such as horses. Predators, such as lions, feed upon their prey, wildebeests. Blackline Master #7: Video Quiz 1. biomes 2. deciduous 3. grasslands 4. coniferous 19

25 5. the deeper layers of soil are frozen and the short growing season 6. Any one of the following: glaciers, polar ice caps, in the ground, rivers, streams, lakes, or ponds 7. Must name two of the following: coastal waters, near shore zone, open ocean, coral reef, vent communities 8. F 9. T 10. T Blackline Masters #8a-8b: Post-Test 1. T 2. T 3. T 4. F 5. F 6. biomes 7. deciduous 8. grassland 9. conifers 10. One of the following answers is acceptable: a. The deeper layers of soil or the subsoil is frozen b. Short growing season 11. One of the following answers is acceptable: a. polar ice caps b. glaciers c. stored in the ground d. rivers e. streams f. ponds g. lakes 12. Two of the following answers are acceptable: a. coastal waters b. near shore zone c. coral reefs d. open ocean e. vent communities 20

26 13. snow 14. When temperatures are constant and too extreme, such as the below-freezing temperatures often experienced in the tundra, than the growing season is short and the ground cannot support plant forms such as trees. If there is much rainfall, than the plant and animal life is abundant. If there is little light energy reaching the forest floor then the quantity of plant life is less. 15. Nutrient-rich soil with adequate supplies of water supports an abundance of plant life. 16. Plants, such as grass, and plant eaters, such as horses. Predators, such as lions, feed upon their prey, such as wildebeests. ADDITIONAL UNITED LEARNING TITLES The following United Learning titles involving biomes and ecosystems are also available: A Day in the Rain Forest Through the Eyes of a Butterfly Catalog #3345 Faces of the Rain Forest Catalog #3328 More is Better: The Biodiversity Story Catalog #2795 Our Wonderful Wetlands Catalog #3082 Life in the Desert System Catalog #2474 The Desert s Struggle for Survival Catalog #2497 The Life of a Forest Unit of Study Catalog #2403 The Birth of a Forest Catalog #2342 A Forest Grows Old Catalog #2365 Fire in the Forest Catalog #

27 INTERNET RESOURCES (1.) NASA has put together a site, run by students for students, called KidSat at Chock-full of great ideas, lesson plans, and activities, this site is a gem in the teaching of all things ecological. (2.) National Geographic s website at always offers cutting-edge reporting about current ecological and environmental concerns, as well as a special area just for kids. (3.) The Sierra Club, long an American force in the protection of the environment and the education of citizens, has a website at (4.) The United States Environmental Protection Agency s site at contains areas especially for kids, students and teachers, and all the latest information and statistics about the fight to save the natural environment and regulate human activity. (5.) The Rainforest Action Network, which has a website at continues its quest to save the planet s rain forests through education and involvement. (6.) Kids will love the World Wildlife Fund s site at Information about endangered species and lots of great links make this site worth visiting! 22

28 Biomes: Our Earth s Major Life Zones Script of Narration From the dark depths of the oceans to the sunny heights of the mountains, myriad life abounds on planet earth. Spiders weave their webs in a redwood forest, birds nest in a desert cactus, and fish dodge their way around a sea of kelp. As you watch this program, think about the natural environment in which you live and of the types of plants and animals that live there. Try to identify your area by the community of plants and animals that surround you. This community of life is what scientists call a biome. As early travelers explored our planet earth and cataloged its life, they discovered many species of plants and animals, but only a few basic types of geographical areas. Those geographical areas filled with a major community of plants and animals are known as biomes, or major life zones. Terrestrial biomes, those that are found on land, are most often classified by their dominant plant life. The biomes found in water, known as aquatic biomes, are usually named by their physical features. Each biome is characterized by a particular type of climate, vegetation, and animal life, and extends over a large region of the earth s surface. Let us first explore the major land biomes. BIOME: TROPICAL RAIN FOREST Around the equator lies the biome known for its abundance and variety of life, the tropical rain forest. The name tropical rain forest aptly describes its place in the world, the tropics. It receives very high levels of rainfall, and its dominant life form are trees. The annual rainfall actually varies from 100 to 160 inches, or 250 to 400 centimeters, and the temperatures average from 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, or 27 to 32 degrees Celsius. Here there are no freezing temperatures and no seasons. The trees are tall with slender trunks that branch only near the top, 23

29 called the canopy. The average tree height exceeds 100 feet, or 30 meters. These forests contain thousands of different tree species whose broad evergreen leaves block out much of the sunlight to the forest floor. The soil here is often thin and deficient of nutrients. This is due to the surrounding life ís ability to efficiently absorb the forest s decomposed organic matter. Since most of the plant food is high up in the forest s canopy, most of the large diversity of animal life lives there as well. From above come the chatter of monkeys and the calls of many species of colorful birds and frogs. Here, reptiles, mammals, and a huge variety of insects abound and participate in the fierce competition for nutrients within the warm misty green of the tropical rain forests. BIOME: DESERT As we follow the climatic pattern 15 to 30 degrees latitude north or south of the equator, we discover several regions that receive less than 10 inches, or 25 centimeters, of precipitation a year. These dry areas, which are found on every continent, are called the desert biomes. The name desert comes from the Latin word desertus, which means abandoned, forsaken, left, or lying waste. The landscape often supports little life o any kind, and the terrain is dominated by rocks, sand, and overall poor soil. Plant life varies considerably because of the great variety of desert conditions. Areas that receive more than an inch, or two centimeters, a year of rainfall have highly specialized plants. Some of these plants are annuals, plants that complete most of the life cycle in less than a year. These plants grow, bloom, and set seed in a few days when water is available. Most desert plants are perennials, plants that live for more than a year. They are small woody shrubs or succulents, like this American cactus. These plants have large shallow root systems that are able to quickly soak up water from the infrequent desert rain storms. Many animals have also adapted to these dry regions. Birds, snakes, tortoises, and many small rodents survive well with little water. Larger 24

30 mammals also live in the desert, such as the desert big horn sheep, which depend on water holes for their survival. Numerous desert animals are active during the night, while during the day, many of the desert animals burrow underground, all wisely avoiding the fiery heat of the hot, dry biome called the desert. BIOME: TEMPERATE DECIDUOUS FOREST As we continue north and south away from the equator at about 60 degrees latitude, we are able to observe cool, moist air that rises and then soon returns to earth as rain or snow. Here, the climate exhibits cold winters, warm summers, and abundant rainfall that is distributed throughout the year. The biome that experiences this climate is the temperate deciduous forest biome. It gets its name because, typically, temperatures are moderate, or temperate, and the dominant life forms are trees which lose their leaves, known as deciduous trees. Typically, deciduous trees, such as beech, oak, maple, and hickory, grow during the spring and summer, lose their leaves during autumn, and lie dormant during the winter. Since during the winter most water is locked in the cold, frozen ground, the trees, must lose their leaves to prevent water loss through the process of transpiration. Bacteria, earthworms, and fungi aid in the breaking down, or decomposition, of the abundant leaf litter and together contribute to the soil s rich nutrients. The forest s leafy limbs provide shelter, nuts, and seeds to a variety of bird species. Mammals, such as deer, fox, squirrels, and raccoons, also live here, in the nutrient rich North American temperate deciduous forest. BIOME: GRASSLAND The temperate grassland area, where precipitation is too sparse to support tree growth, but does not fall below 10 inches, or 25 centimeters, per year, is called the grassland biome. This area is also known as the prairie in North America, steppe in Russia and Asia, pampas in South America, and veldt in South Africa. It is believed that grasslands may have covered nearly half of the world at one time. 25

31 Due to the slow decomposition rate of the grasses over thousands of years, grassland biomes are considered to have the most fertile and deepest topsoil in the world. Today most of the grasslands are used for agriculture and produce much of the world s domesticated grasses, such as wheat. This is why these grasslands are referred to as the breadbaskets of the world. The original grasslands of North America were once grazed by large herds of bison. Today the parts of the prairies of the central United States are grazed by cattle, horses, and sheep. Living on the underdeveloped grasslands are animals such as the pronghorn antelope, coyotes, ground squirrels, and rattlesnakes. There are also a few of the warm regions of the world where the grassland biome receives 40 to 60 inches, or 100 to 150 centimeters, of rain. This life zone is often referred to as the savanna biome. The scattered trees of the African savanna are acacias, baobab trees, euphorbias, and palms. The giraffe, with its long neck, has evolved to feed on these tall trees, and thereby does not compete with the grazing animals such as the antelope, wildebeests, and zebras. The predators such as lions, cheetahs, and hyenas, help maintain the balance of life during the short wet and long dry seasons of the savanna, the grassland biome. BIOME: CHAPARRAL The chaparral is part of the temperate shrubland biome, best represented by short woody plants with simple evergreen thick leaves. The name chaparral refers to the evergreen oak called the Spanish chapparo. The thick, hard, waxy leaves of these shrubs are droughtresistant and adapt well to the dry climate. Here, the winters are cool and rainy, and the summers are hot with very little or no rain. During the winter, precipitation is great enough that it leaches the soil of much of its nutrients. Similar plant communities are found in southwestern North America, Chile, the Mediterranean coast, southern Australia, and the southern tip of Africa. The chaparral ecosystem is found well-developed near the coastal area of the state of California in the United States. The leaves of these plants, such as this sage and manzanita, are often found to be aromatic with flammable compounds. Fires here are frequent. In some plant species, 26

32 fires stimulate seed germination. After the fires, the dominant shrubs regrow from surviving plant tissue found near the ground. Throughout the year, lizards, chipmunks, and Great Horned Owls are found within this volatile temperate shrubland biome known as the chaparral. BIOME: TEMPERATE RAIN FOREST Also in the state of California, along the cool moist northern regions of its Pacific coast, are the world famous giant redwoods. These majestic trees are part of the temperate rain forest biome. This climate here receives between 150 and 200 inches, or 380 and 500 centimeters, of rain annually and the temperatures rarely drop to below freezing. With so much rainfall along with moderate temperatures, this forest biome is appropriately named. The temperate rain forest biome is located on the northwest Pacific coast of North America and the south western tip of South America. This forest resembles tropical rain forests in that it contains very tall trees. Yet, unlike the tropical rain forest, the temperate rain forests are cooler and have fewer species of trees. Most of the species of trees are conifers, which means cone-bearing trees, such as redwood, spruce, fir, pine, and hemlock. Conifers thrive here better than broad leaf trees because the forest is located at higher latitudes along foggy coastlines where sunlight energy is often scarce. The needled branches do let in some sunlight for the forest floor which supports plants such as mosses, ferns, and various forms of lichen. Supplying the acidic soil with some nutrients are the fungi which often contribute to the decomposition process of the moist decaying vegetation. Animals such as deer, salmon, and arachnids are also inhabitants here in the cool, damp biome of the temperate rain forest. BIOME: TAIGA Moving more north in latitude and climbing higher among the mountains is the community called the taiga, or northern coniferous forest. 27

33 The word taiga is a Siberian word meaning primeval forest. The dominant trees of the forest biome are conifers such as spruce, pine, fir, larch, and balsam. The climate is generally long, cold winters, allowing only a short growing season in the summer. The winters are colder and the precipitation is much less than the temperate rain forest. With much of the precipitation falling as snow, the conifers have successfully adapted to the winter s freezing temperatures. All evergreens have the ability to maintain the flow of water and nutrients within their trunks and branches throughout the year. This significant characteristic allows these trees to keep their needle-like leaves and continue the process of photosynthesis. Because of their small surface area and their waxy coating, these needle-like leaves are specialized to prevent water loss through transpiration. This is valuable to the tree s winter survival since the water outside the tree is unavailable due to the water s frozen state as ice or snow. Overall, these trees have adapted well to soil that is often very cold or very dry. Some of the animals found in these forests are caribou, deer, and elk, along with their predators, the mountain lions and timber wolves. Black bears, chipmunks, and beavers also reside in the cold evergreen world of the taiga biome. BIOME: TUNDRA During the warmer summer months, the caribou and big horn sheep migrate north to the treeless biome known as the tundra. The name tundra is of Lapp or Russian origin, and means treeless plains of northern regions. The summer landscape south of the Arctic Circle is characterized by low, dwarfed grasses and sedges arranged in a mosaic, multi-shaped pattern. For a few weeks during the summer, the day ís light lasts for nearly 24 hours. But for most of the year, the dark nights are long and the climate is extremely cold and dry. The landscape is often blanketed in white for most of the winter. The annual precipitation rarely exceeds ten inches, or 25 centimeters. 28

34 In many parts of the tundra, the constant low temperatures freeze the deeper layers of the ground permanently. The low temperatures, also, slow down the decomposition of organic matter allowing only a thin layer of soil. Because of the short growing season, and the shallow layer of thawed ground, there are no trees. When the snow melts, the water collects on the surface, forming many lakes, since the water is unable to be absorbed by the deeper layers of frozen soil. Large number of migratory birds also visit the marshy areas in the summer. The Arctic hare, fox, owl, as well as lemmings, remain active throughout the year. Tundra biomes are also found at lower latitudes in mountaintops above the timberline. During the summer, the plant and animal communities of the alpine tundra experience intense sunshine, prevalent winds, and highly variable precipitation. For the rest of the year, the precipitation is mainly snow, a common occurrence here in the cold, dry regions known as the tundra biome. The earth is covered with more than twice as much water as land. Only three percent of this water is fresh, meaning it contains a relatively small amount of dissolved minerals. Most of the fresh water is locked up in polar ice caps and glaciers, or is stored down in the ground. Less than one hundredth of one percent of the earth s water exists in rivers, streams, ponds, and lakes: the fresh water biomes. BIOME: FRESH WATER Standing bodies of water, such as ponds and lakes, can be classified according to their nutrient content. Usually, the steadily moving mountain streams and rivers carry little sediment, or nutrients, and feed many lakes and ponds with cool, clear, oxygen-rich water. As a result, fish, such as trout, often dwell in these clear, oxygen- rich environments along with some algae growth. On the other hand, there are lakes and ponds that are fed with water containing large quantities of sediments and high concentrations of nutrients. These environments are less clear and encourage dense blooms of algae. As the algae die off, bacteria and other decomposers 29

35 breakdown the dying algae, while, at the same time, reducing much of the water s valuable dissolved oxygen. These murky environments are often populated with fish, such as catfish and bass, which survive well in oxygen-depleted bodies of water and are all part of the dynamic fresh water biome. BIOME: MARINE Ocean waters cover seventy-one percent of the earth s surface. The depths of the ocean range from the intertidal zone, the coastal land that is daily covered and uncovered by sea water, to the deepest ocean depth of about 33,000 fee,t or 10,000 meters. There are five major types of ocean biomes: coastal waters, near shore zone, coral reefs, open ocean, and vent communities. The coastal waters are usually shallow enough to allow sunlight to reach a variety of forms of algae. Coastal rivers also supply many nutrients to the abundant and diverse life in this intertidal zone. Because of the rising and falling of the tides, the plants and animal life, such as scallops, crabs, barnacles, and sea anemones, must survive the exposures to both air and water. The near shore zone lies beyond the intertidal zone and is more stable since there is no direct exposure to air. Organisms in this zone are strictly aquatic. Kelp plants protect and nourish the abundant life in these shallow waters. Coral reefs are often found in warm tropical waters. The reefs are formed from the skeletons of the various species of coral. Sponges, sea anemones, and hundreds of species of fish add a variety of color to this diverse community of plants and animals. The open ocean is populated by different species of microscopic plant organisms, such as phytoplankton, which are consumed by the microscopic animals called zooplankton, which are consumed by various species of fish and sea mammals, such as whales. Vent communities lie in the great depths of the abyssal zone where 30

36 there is no light. For the most part, this zone is cold and barren. Without sunlight to provide an energy source, it was thought that very few life forms could survive. However, there are openings in the earth that look like small volcanoes called vents, that provide heat and nutrients to strange clusters of tubeworms, white crabs, and clams, creatures of the wondrous world of the marine biome. George Washington Carver wrote, Never a day passes but that I do myself the honor to commune with some of nature s varied forms. By discovering and learning more about your biome, you discover that you, too, are part of the biome, and belong to the community of life. 31

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