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Terrestrial Biome Activities

Instructor: Josh Corbat

Josh has taught Earth Science and Physical Science at the High School level and holds a Master of Education degree from UNC-Chapel Hill.

Looking to freshen up your terrestrial biomes unit? This lesson details several activities that will captures students interest and enhance learning. Activities range from material-light explorations to material-heavy inquiries.

Terrestrial Biomes: Familiar to Everyone

One of the distinct advantages of teaching about terrestrial biomes is that everyone can relate to them. For this reason, it is important that you bring your immediate surroundings into the classroom whenever possible. Better yet, take your students out into your local biome! Engaging your students with their world is a surefire way to capitalize on their interests and keep learning grounded in their lived experiences. The activities that follow are designed to help students gain a deeper understanding of their world, both in their backyard and around the world. Materials needed for each activity are listed for your convenience in planning.

Biome Walk

  • Notebooks and writing utensils for note-taking (and writing extension)

To introduce students to the various components of any biome, take them outside for a guided walk of the area surrounding your school. Have them take notes of the variety of biotic and abiotic factors they observe as they walk. If you are aware of interesting relationships, point them out and ask students to observe them further (e.g. an invasive plant species or signs of animal life). Students should be continuously encouraged to ask questions and jot down their interests to be brought into classroom learning later on.

As a literacy-based extension, students can write a nature-based piece during the walk. Find a location where students can sit and relax, then give them a writing prompt. It is often best for the prompt to be very open ended, but something that incorporates both biotic and abiotic factors of biomes would work well for this unit.

Biome Posters Activity

  • Art supplies
  • Internet access

A great way to have students explore distant biomes is to have them conduct some cursory research and produce a poster to be shared with the class. Either have students select a terrestrial biome to explore, or assign a biome. Then, students can conduct some research online and create a poster designed to teach about their biome. Have students hang their posters around the room and conduct a gallery walk to learn about the biomes their peers researched. For groups that need some extra guidance, create a list of requirements for the posters that include images, biotic and abiotic factors, temperature ranges, seasons, plant growth patterns, animal migrations, etc.

Biome Food Web Activity

  • Art supplies
  • Internet access

If you want to focus more on the biotic factors in biomes, have students research common food webs in a biome somewhere in the world. Have them select a biome and a common animal. From there, they can research the food web that animal would be part of. Naturally, this can be extended as far as students desire, and therefore, this activity is highly flexible for different grade levels. Have students present their food webs to the class and hold a discussion about the similarities and differences of food webs around the world.

Humans in Biomes History Activity

  • Internet access

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