In this activity, students collect information about different biomes by watching videos and doing research on the Web. They share their information in a carousel brainstorm activity and locate the biomes on a world map. Then student teams research different biomes and present their information to the class. As an option, students design an imaginary plant or animal that is adapted to a particular biome.
Note: This lesson plan was revised in September 2009, and now makes use of a Biomes interactive rather than two printable PDFs in the earlier version.
- Identify terrestrial and aquatic biomes
- Describe the environmental factors and the plants and animals of each biome
- Identify the location of different biomes on a world map
- Understand the interrelationship between environmental factors and the plants and animals within a biome
- Describe examples of plant and animal adaptations to specific biomes
- Two to three class periods.
Use these resources to create a simple assessment or video-based assignment with the Lesson Builder tool on PBS LearningMedia.
Before the Lesson
- Make a copy of the Biome Worksheet (PDF) and the World Map (PDF) for each student.
- Make a transparency of the Biome World Map.
- Set up carousel brainstorm stations with newsprint and markers. Include the same categories on the newsprint as those on the Biome Worksheet (PDF)
- Review the concepts of abiotic and biotic factors in ecosystems and plant and animal adaptations.
1. Give a copy of the Biome Worksheet (PDF) and a World Map (PDF) to each student. Then show the following biome videos:
You or your students can search PBS LearningMedia for other videos available on grassland/savanna, shrubland/chaparral taiga/coniferous forest, or temperate deciduous forest biomes. Ask students to take notes on each biome, using the Biome Worksheet (PDF).
2. Have student teams do a carousel brainstorm with a different newsprint station for each biome. Include the same categories on the newsprint as those on the Biome Worksheet (PDF). Place a blank World Map (PDF) at each station, and have students sketch in pencil where they think that biome is located. If teams disagree about the location, have them sketch in a different color pencil or pen. Rotate teams through each biome station. Then discuss the following as you review each station:
- What are the unique characteristics of each biome?
- How are the plants and animals of each biome adapted to their environment?
- How are the biomes similar to one another?
- Where in the world is each biome located? Use a pencil to mark the locations on your World Map (PDF).
- Which biome do you live in?
- What other biomes have you visited? What do you know about each one?
Display the Biome World Map, which uses different colors to represent the location of each biome station.
3. Show all groups a sample climograph (temperature and precipitation charts) from Biomes Interactive. Then discuss the following:
- How does the physical environment affect the organisms that can live in a certain area? What is the interrelationship between abiotic and biotic factors?
4. Divide the class into biome teams:
- Tundra (Arctic/Alpine),
- Taiga/Coniferous Forest,
- Temperate Deciduous Forest,
- Tropical Rain Forest,
- Shrubland/Chaparral, and
(You may not have enough students or materials to cover each of the biomes.) Have each team research their biome using at least three different resources, including Biomes, the Web, and the library. Their research should include climate information, important physical factors (such as soil type, tides, salinity, etc.), plants and animals, adaptations of the plants and animals to their environment, and environmental issues that affect the biome. In addition, ask students to create a climograph for their biomes, using a resource such as Weatherbase.com (http://www.weatherbase.com/).
Check for Understanding
Have student teams present information on their biomes in creative ways—for example, using models, illustrations, travel brochures, skits, and so on. After each team presents, have them map their biome on a transparency or wall version of a World Map (PDF), using a different color for each biome.
Optional: Have students design an imaginary plant or animal that is adapted to the biome of their choice. Ask them to write a description of the organism and its adaptations and to make a drawing of it in its environment. Have students share their organisms with the class and display them.
You will be given a biome to research in class. The information collected will be used to create a pamphlet, website, or poster that describes the biome. Think about what makes your biome unique and the types of plants and animals that live there as well as dominate weather patterns. As you gather information about the biome, take notes and think about how you can organize this information and put it into your own words. Your final project will need to include references to material you included. Pictures are encouraged to make your presentation interesting to your audience, which is your classmates.
taiga (coniferous forest)
temperate deciduous forest
tropical rain forest
temperate grassland or prairie savannah (also listed as grasslands on some sites)
freshwater (lakes, rivers, or streams)
Projects / Presentations
Use any of the following formats, check with your instructor for additional instructions or information: If you have another idea for your project, check with your instructor.
1. A flyer that you can hand out to the class (ask your teacher to make copies) or use a publisher program to make the pamphlets. Canva.com has tri-fold pamphlet creators.
2. A web page (poster). http://poster.4teachers.org/ is an online service that makes it easy to make web posters and publish them online. Teachers will need to sign up for this service or use a comparable service.
3. Make a real poster on posterboard. Make a self standing project board that has pictures and information about your biome.
4. Make a digital poster or infographic using Piktochart
5. Make a presentation using powerpoint or Prezi and present to the class on a digital projector.
6. Create a website on weebly.com or make a Tumblr page.
1. The name of your biome (title page) which includes a short introduction to your project
2. The biome’s characteristics (climate, average temperature, average precipitation amounts, are there seasons) and locations in the world (continents, countries)
3. 4-6 plants that are found in your biome. Describe an adaptation they have for surviving in the biome. (Ex) large horizontal roots
4. 4-6 animals that are found in your biome. Describe an adaptation they have for surviving in the biome. (Ex) thick fur
5. Threats to the biome. Give some details to the threats (what are some causes/effects of the threats. (Ex) deforestation-destroying habitats
6. Why would someone want to visit this biome?
7. Pictures to include are: a map of the biome location, two plants you described, two animals you described, and one picture of the threat.
8. References - include websites, books or other resources you used to create your project, give credit to images you used.
|Rubric: Biomes Project|
|4 pts||3 pts||2 pts||1 pt|
|Title page and introduction|
|Overall Characteristics (weather, locations, etc)|
|Plant Life (information and photos of plants)|
|Animal Life (information and photos of animals)|
|Information: Threats to Biome|
|Information: Why Visit Biome?|
|Organization: Is the layout, format and photos organized and engaging?|
|Mechanics: Organization neatness, grammar, etc.|
|References and Citations|