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The Earth’s Land Biomes

Subject Area: Science

Grade Level(s): 6

Duration of Activity: Four to five, 50-minute class periods

Description of Activity:

In this activity students will learn the location and the characteristics of six major land biomes. Students will work in cooperative groups to conduct computer research on a specific biome. They will create brochures encouraging people to buy property that is part of that biome, listing the reasons why such property would be beneficial to the purchaser. The brochure should describe the location, average temperatures and rainfall amounts, landforms, animal and plant life, climate, ecological concerns and conservation efforts of the biome.

Objectives:

  • Locate and describe six major land biomes: Tundra, Taiga, Temperate Deciduous Forests, Tropical Rainforest, Grassland, and Desert.
  • Create a brochure that describes the location, landforms, animal and plant life, climate, ecological concerns and conservation efforts of one biome.
  • Use technology tools as well as printed materials to research a specific biome.
  • Create a spreadsheet of the rainfall and temperatures of each of the six major land biomes using Microsoft Excel
  • Construct a bar graph using Microsoft Excel to compare average yearly rainfall and temperatures of six major biomes.

Materials/Equipment:

  • Computers with Internet access
  • World Maps
  • Microsoft Excel or other spreadsheet software
  • Word-processing, publishing, or presentation software
  • Floppy diskettes
  • FlexCam and NetTV or projection device
  • Handout 1: World Maps
  • Handout 2: Biomes Brochure Criteria
  • Handout 3: How to Make Graphs Using Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel
  • Handout 4: Assessment Sheet
  • Handout 5: Earth’s Land Biomes Word Search (Extension)

Prerequisites (skills or background needed):

  • Basic ability to read maps
  • Knowledge of the difference between weather and climate
  • Basic knowledge of how to create a spreadsheet using computer software

Procedure

Teacher Component: The teacher will

  1. using the FlexCam and NetTV or projection device, project a picture of a world map and identify the locations of six major biomes: Tundra, Taiga, Temperate Deciduous Forest, Tropical Rainforest, Grassland and Desert.
  2. Give each student Handout 1: World Maps to color in each biome as each is identified by the teacher.
  3. divide the task of researching one of the six major biomes to each cooperative group of four or five students. Give each group copies of Handout 2: Biomes Brochure Criteria as a guideline for creating their brochures.
  4. explain to each group of students that they will be doing research using the World Wide Web and other sources. Their cooperative groups will research one biome and create a brochure to convince travelers to buy property in that biome.
  5. instruct students that they will create spreadsheets containing the average rainfall and temperatures of each of the six major land biomes using Microsoft Excel. Handout 3: Instructions for using Microsoft Excel can be used by the students in setting up their spreadsheets.
  6. instruct students to use information from the graphs to complete Handout 4: Assessment Sheet.

Student Activities: The students will

  1. locate the six major biomes on a world map as the teacher identifies each one and use Handout 1: World Maps to color each biome a different color.
  2. be divided into cooperative groups of four or five students to research a specific biome using the World Wide Web and other reference materials.
  3. using word-processing, presentation, or publishing software, to create brochures that describe the location, landforms, average temperature and rainfall, animal and plant life, climate, ecological concerns and conservation efforts of a biome. The brochures should convince travelers to buy land in the biome. Each student should do the following:

    • Brainstorm ways to accomplish your tasks.
    • Make a list of the research and work he/she is responsible for.
    • Research the designated biome topics.
    • Meet with the group and exchange information and discuss findings.
    • Use word-processing software to key in the biome information in column format. Edit the typed work and then get a classmate to edit it also.
    • Correct any mistakes and print enough copies for each member of the group to review.
    • Brainstorm ways to format the final combined version of the brochure.
    • Create the final version of the brochure, using a format agreed upon by the group. Be creative.

  4. use Handout 2: Biomes Brochure Criteria as a guideline. Each group will present their brochures to the class. Students should make notes of the average temperatures and rainfall amounts.
  5. use Handout 3: How to Make Graphs Using Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel and create bar graphs that compare the average yearly rainfall and temperatures for the six major biomes. Students should enter the rainfall and temperature data located through their research into an Excel spreadsheet. Students will use data from the spreadsheet to create bar graphs that will compare the average rainfall and temperatures.
  6. complete individually Handout 4: Assessment Sheet using the information from their graphs.

Accommodations:

  • Reserve computers for biomes research on the World Wide Web if enough classroom computers are not available.

Extension Activities:

  • Use Handout 5: Earth’s Land Biomes as an option activity for students who complete their work ahead of other groups.
  • Students can research and contact conservation organizations to solicit information for future projects or make contributions from the local science club. Examples might be:

    Trees for the Future
    http://www.webreleaf.com
    Initiates and supports environmentally beneficial self–help projects

    African Wildlife Foundation
    http://www.awf.org/
    Works with supporters worldwide and partners in Africa for the long-term well-being of Africa’s wildlife and lands

  • Students can create games about the different biomes and the plants and animals that live in those biomes. The students can do this either individually or in collaborative groups. Game pieces for the games could be created using Microsoft PowerPoint slides that are then printed out 9 to a page.

Integration:

  • Social Studies
  • Technology
  • Art

Assessments:

  1. Handout 2: Biomes Brochure Criteria
  2. Handout 4: Assessment Sheet

URLs:

Curriculum Frameworks

Mississippi:

Sixth Grade

  1. Investigate structure and functions in living systems. (L, E)
    1. Compare and contrast patterns and interactions of ecosystems and biomes.

National Educational Technology Standards (NETS):

  1. Apply productivity/multimedia tools and peripherals to support personal productivity, group collaboration, and learning throughout the curriculum. (3, 6)
  2. Select and use appropriate tools and technology resources to accomplish a variety of tasks and solve problems. (5, 6)

TerraNova:

22 Earth and Space Science (Level 11-21/22)
Demonstrate an understanding of the fundamental concepts and principles of Earth and space science. Apply Earth and space science knowledge to investigations and real-world contexts.

Through text, diagrams, and drawings, provide explanations of Earth and space science concepts and principles.

Link and Feedback to Author(s):

Linda Watts, South Delta Middle School, Anguilla MS.
sttawl@hotmail.com

Handout 1: World Map Word Acrobat
Handout 2: Biomes Brochure Criteria Word Acrobat
Handout 3: How to Make Graphs Using Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel
Handout 4: Assessment Sheet Word Acrobat
Handout 5: Earth's Land Biomes Word Acrobat
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