DESCRIBING DESERT, TAIGA, AND TUNDRA BIOMES

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1 Lesson B5 1 DESCRIBING DESERT, TAIGA, AND TUNDRA BIOMES Unit B. Science and Technology in Wildlife Management Problem Area 5. Desert, Taiga, and Tundra Biomes National Academic Standard. NS Science As Inquiry As a result of activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry; understandings about scientific inquiry. Student Learning Objectives. Instruction in this lesson should result in students achieving the following objectives: 1 Describe types of desert biomes. 2 Explain conditions of a taiga biome. 3 Identify characteristics of a tundra biome. Wildlife Management: Science and Technology Lesson Plan Library Lesson B5 1 Page 1

2 List of Resources. The following resources may be useful in teaching this lesson: Butz, Stephen D. Science of Earth Systems. Clifton Park, NY: Delmar Learning, Internet Department of Natural Resources publications Miller, G. Tyler, Jr. Living in the Environment, 13 th ed. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole-Thomson Learning, Porter, Lynn, Jasper S. Lee, Diana L. Turner, and Malcolm J. Hillan. Environmental Science and Technology, 2 nd ed. Danville, IL: Interstate Publishers, Inc., Project Wild and Project Wild Aquatic Activity Books Stutzenbaker, Charles D., Brenda J. Scheil, Michael K. Swan, Jasper S. Lee, and Jeri Mattics Omernik. Wildlife Management: Science & Technology, 2 nd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall Interstate, List of Equipment, Tools, Supplies, and Facilities Writing surface Overhead projector Transparencies from attached masters Copies of student lab sheet Terms. The following terms are presented in this lesson (shown in bold italics): Cold desert Desert Growing season Semi desert Taiga Temperate desert Tropical desert Tundra Interest Approach. Use an interest approach that will prepare the students for the lesson. Teachers often develop approaches for their unique class and student situations. A possible approach is included here. Ask students to identify five plants and five animals that are native local species. List them on the writing surface and under each, list three things that each plant or animal needs to survive that your local area provides. Circle the plants or animals that can live anywhere and put a slash through the ones that cannot. Discuss why some species cannot survive in every environment. For example, talk with students about Wildlife Management: Science and Technology Lesson Plan Library Lesson B5 1 Page 2

3 yearly temperatures and rainfall in your area and how they affect what species live there. SUMMARY OF CONTENT AND TEACHING STRATEGIES Objective 1: Describe types of desert biomes. Anticipated Problem: What is a desert biome? I. A desert biome is an ecosystem that is located on land. A desert is an area that must lose more water to evaporation than it gains from precipitation. There are several different kinds of deserts and each is characterized by its temperatures and rainfalls. A. A cold desert is cold in the winter, has low precipitation, and is warm or hot in the summer. B. A temperate desert has day temperatures that are lower in the winter than in the summer, has sparse vegetation, and is home to animals adapted to using very little water. C. A tropical desert has high temperatures the entire year and very small amounts of rain. Hardly anything can live under these conditions, so there are very few plants and animals. D. A semi desert is an area with long dry spells and occasional heavy rains. It is located between grasslands and deserts. Have students imagine what it is like to exist in each of these areas. What adaptations would they need? Use TM A to cover the content of the objective. Objective 2: Explain conditions of a taiga biome. Anticipated Problem: What conditions exist in a taiga biome? II. Every biome is characterized by its climate. A taiga is a very cold biome that has needle leaf forests and occasional food shortages, causing some of its inhabitants to hibernate during the winter. A. The taiga is located south of the tundra, so the winters are cold, long, and dry, but summers are short and humid, with considerable rainfall and warm temperatures. B. For half the year the average temperature is below zero. C. The fall and spring in a taiga are very short because the temperature is either warm or cold. D. Yearly precipitation falls mainly in the form of rain and totals inches. Wildlife Management: Science and Technology Lesson Plan Library Lesson B5 1 Page 3

4 E. Because of the climate, the taiga does not have very many species of plants or animals. Some species use the summer months of the taiga for finding food and then migrate elsewhere. F. During the winter, the sun only shines six to eight hours a day, and during the summer, it shines 19 hours a day. G. The taiga soil type is very acidic because of the decomposition of tree needles in the soil. Have students guess what species of animals live in the taiga. Use TM B to cover the content of the objective. Objective 3: Identify characteristics of a tundra biome. Anticipated Problem: What type of climate, plants, and animals does a tundra have? III. The fact that the word tundra means barren or treeless land in Finnish is revealing. A tundra is a type of biome with very low temperatures and a short growing season. Because of the climate, a tundra has many characteristics. A. The tundra has poor drainage, and dead organisms are very slow to decompose because of the cold temperatures. No true soil is developed in the tundra because of the climate conditions. B. The growing season is very short so the diversity of life in the tundra is limited. A growing season is the length of time that plants can grow. In the tundra it is only six to ten weeks long. C. Tundra is found at very high elevations like on mountain tops. It is also found between the taiga and the polar ice cap. D. Animals that live in the tundra are adapted with thick coats of fur and large compact bodies. Birds are equipped with plumage that is brown in summer and white in the winter. Inhabitants include caribou, polar bears, snowy owls, mountain goats, and elk. E. The tundra is separated into three zones based on latitude. They are low, middle, and high arctic tundra. F. The plant life found in the tundra is very low to the ground and includes lichens, grasses, mosses, and dwarf birches. The tundra is very susceptible to erosion because of the small amounts of plant growth. Obtain a laminated map and color in the areas that are tundra with a washable marker. Use TM C to highlight the characteristics of the tundra. Review/Summary. Review this lesson by discussing the information on the overheads with the students. Emphasize the information that will be on the test. Make sure the students understand the information presented before moving onto the lab or taking the test. Wildlife Management: Science and Technology Lesson Plan Library Lesson B5 1 Page 4

5 Application. Use the LS A to complete the application portion of this lesson. Evaluation. Use the success on the lab sheet and test to evaluate students understanding of objectives. Answers to Test: Part One: Matching 1. c 2. f 3. d 4. e 5. b 6. a Part Two: Completion 1. tundra 2. erosion 3. climate 4. acidic 5. tundra 6. latitude Part Three: Short Answer 1. desert, taiga, tundra 2. caribou, polar bears, snowy owls, mountain goats, elk Wildlife Management: Science and Technology Lesson Plan Library Lesson B5 1 Page 5

6 Test Name DESCRIBING DESERT, TAIGA, AND TUNDRA BIOMES Part One: Matching Instructions: Match the term with the correct response. Write the letter of the term by the definition. a. Cold desert d. Temperate desert b. Taiga e. Tropical desert c. Desert f. Growing season An area that must lose more water to evaporation than it gains from precipitation The length of time that plants can grow A biome that has day temperatures that are lower in the winter than in the summer, has sparse vegetation, and is home to animals adapted to using very little water A biome that has high temperatures the entire year and very small amounts of rain A very cold biome that has needle leaf forests and occasional food shortages causing some of its inhabitants to hibernate during the winter A desert that is cold in the winter, has low precipitation, and is warm or hot in the summer Part Two: Completion Instructions: Provide the word or words to complete the following statements. 1. A type of biome with very low temperatures and a short growing season is a. 2. The tundra is very susceptible to because of little plant growth. 3. Every biome is characterized by its. 4. The taiga soil type is very because of the decomposition of needles in the soil. 5. Animals that live in the are adapted with thick coats of fur and large compact bodies. 6. The tundra is separated into three zones based on. Wildlife Management: Science and Technology Lesson Plan Library Lesson B5 1 Page 6

7 Part Three: Short Answer Instructions: Provide information to answer the following questions. 1. Put the following in order from warmest to coldest: desert, tundra, taiga a. b. c. 2. Name three year-long inhabitants of the tundra. a. b. c. Wildlife Management: Science and Technology Lesson Plan Library Lesson B5 1 Page 7

8 TM A DESERT BIOMES Desert an area that must lose more water to evaporation than it gains from precipitation Different kinds of deserts are characterized by temperatures and rainfalls: Cold desert cold in the winter, has low precipitation, and is warm or hot in the summer Temperate desert has day temperatures that are lower in the winter than in the summer, has sparse vegetation, and is home to animals adapted to using very little water Tropical desert has high temperatures the entire year and very small amounts of rain Hardly anything can live under these conditions, so there are very few plants and animals Semi desert an area with long dry spells and occasional heavy rains; located between grasslands and deserts Wildlife Management: Science and Technology Lesson Plan Library Lesson B5 1 Page 8

9 TM B TAIGA BIOMES Taiga a very cold biome that has needle leaf forests and occasional food shortages Located south of the tundra Winters are cold, long, and dry Summers are short and humid, with considerable rainfall and warm temperatures Average temperature is below zero for half the year Fall and spring are very short because the temperature is either warm or cold Yearly precipitation, mainly in the form of rain, totals inches Not many species of plants or animals are present Some species find food in the summer months and then migrate elsewhere Sunshine in winter = six to eight hours a day Sunshine in summer = 19 hours a day Soil type is very acidic Wildlife Management: Science and Technology Lesson Plan Library Lesson B5 1 Page 9

10 TM C TUNDRA BIOMES Tundra type of biome with very low temperatures and a short growing season Poor drainage Dead organisms decompose slowly because of the cold No true soil is developed because of the climate Diversity of life is limited because growing season is only six to ten weeks long Found at very high elevations like on mountain tops; also found between the taiga and the polar ice cap Animals are adapted with thick coats of fur and large compact bodies Birds are equipped with plumage that is brown in summer and white in the winter Inhabitants include caribou, polar bears, snowy owls, mountain goats, and elk Separated into three zones based on latitude: low, middle, and high arctic tundra Plant life is very low to the ground and includes lichens, grasses, mosses, and dwarf birches Very susceptible to erosion because of the small amounts of plant growth Wildlife Management: Science and Technology Lesson Plan Library Lesson B5 1 Page 10

11 LS A Name BIOME VACATION Purpose: To research biomes and report on their plants, animals, climates and other characteristics. Materials: Reference materials Poster board Markers Group requests Procedure: 1. Work in groups of five students. Designate one person to research plants, one to research animals, one to study climates, and the other two to find interesting facts about your biome and work on the 3D model. 2. Select tundra, taiga, or desert to research. 3. Make a list of any special materials that your group will need to complete this project and give it to your teacher. 4. Make a poster that exhibits the characteristics of your biome. 5. Make a 3D model of what your biome looks like. 6. Each group should present the information to the class as if they vacationed in their specific biome and are reporting on what they saw and did. Wildlife Management: Science and Technology Lesson Plan Library Lesson B5 1 Page 11

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