Desert Ecosystem Project Ideas

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

Desert ecosystems are comprised of the plants, animals, and non-living things that interact within a very dry area. These projects help students learn about the desert environment with activities that address multiple learning styles.

Desert Ecosystem

Some deserts are cold, some are hot, and some deserts have wide variations of night and day or summer and winter temperatures. What all deserts have in common is that they are extremely dry. Typically, deserts receive less than ten inches of rain or snow in an entire year. The plants and animals that live in a desert are unique in their ability to survive under these conditions. The projects in this article combine visuals, writing, research, and presentation skills to help students in middle school and upper elementary grades learn about the desert ecosystem.

Desert Ecosystem Projects

For each of these projects, students will research the desert ecosystem and create an object that depicts their learning.

Desert Travel Brochure

Grade Level: 5-8

Length: 60-120 minutes

Materials needed: computer/internet/printer, cardstock, markers

Divide students into small groups.

Tell students that they will be working together to create a travel brochure for tourists who want to witness the desert ecosystem.

As students are researching, have them ask themselves the following:

  • What animals live in the desert?
  • What plants live in the desert?
  • What adaptations have plants and animals made to survive the dry conditions?
  • What are some symbiotic relationships that exist in this ecosystem?

When assembling the brochure, students should include the following information:

  • photographs
  • maps
  • interesting facts
  • reasons to visit the desert

Desert Ecosystem Collage

Grade level: 3-5

Length: 60-120 minutes

Materials needed: construction paper, magazines, computer/internet/printer, glue

Have students research plant and animal life in the desert.

Have students create a collage that illustrates the interactions between various organisms and elements of the desert by cutting out words and pictures from a magazine or printing out pictures they find on the internet.

Divide students into small groups to share their collage and discuss why they included each picture.

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