Grade Level: 6-8
This lesson has students explore desert habitats and their global distribution. The overarching phenomenon involves explaining why the dry, desert-like areas of Wyoming and Australia have similar vegetation despite being so far apart. Students will use the Global Vegetation Project platform, temperature and precipitation data, and other resources to investigate the different types of deserts.
How can Wyoming and Australia have similar vegetation despite their distance apart? How do temperature and precipitation impact plant communities? Why do deserts form in certain locations around the globe?
You may use this phenomenon to primarily investigate desert communities around the globe and the large, climatic patterns that impact biome formation. This lesson may also serve as a jumping off point for exploring differences in weather in the Northern and Southern Hemipsheres. You may also use this lesson to transition into exploring plant adaptation and genetic population dynamics.
MS-ESS2-6. Develop and use a model to describe how unequal heating and rotation of the Earth cause patterns of atmospheric and oceanic circulation that determine regional climates
Martha Inouye, Clare Gunshenan, Sienna Wessel, and Matthew Bisk