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Exploring Biomes


A biome is defined as a large geographic area containing similar plants and animals existing under the same climate conditions. There are eight biomes in the world: rainforest, savanna, desert, chaparral, grassland, temperate deciduous forest, temperate boreal forest, and tundra. Arizona has most of these biomes but because of the scale, many of them can be divided into smaller regions called biotic communities. In this unit, students will have the opportunity to explore both the biomes of the world and the biotic communities of Arizona.

Lesson Summaries

Although these lessons were designed as a unit, they can stand by themselves and be taught individually. However, some activities may require familiarity with concepts or skills that were taught in earlier lessons. Make sure to read through the lesson and determine what knowledge your students are expected to know before carrying it out with the students.

  • Lesson 1 - Students use actual climate information (provided by satellite maps) to divide the world into biomes based on conditions that they choose.
  • Lesson 2 - After being introduced to the actual biome classifications, students work in groups to become experts on one of these biomes
  • Lesson 3 - Students look at data regarding biome destruction and use it to analyze two different approaches to preserving the biodiversity of the Earth
  • Lesson 4 - Using online resources and a map of Arizona, students compare biomes to biotic communities and estimate the amount of land that is taken up by each of the communities in the state
  • Lesson 5 - Students work in groups to develop a short commercial to persuade people to visit one of the communities

Suggested Grade Levels


Time Frame

11–16 days (45 minutes each day)

Enduring Understandings

After completing the activities contained in this unit, the student should understand these basic concepts:

  • A number of characteristics, including elevation and climate, are used to divide the world into biomes
  • There are numerous ways to classify biomes, but many biomes, including rainforest, desert, and tundra, are commonly accepted
  • At smaller scales, like states, biomes can be divided into smaller, more specific groups called biotic communities
  • Because of its diverse range of elevations, Arizona has numerous biotic communities and is represented by almost all biomes
  • Each biotic community in Arizona has unique plants, animals and climate
  • Increasing human populations can negatively affect the diversity of plants and animals
  • Conservation solutions are complex and not all people may agree

Arizona Department of Education Standards

The lessons in this unit were designed to present an integrated approach to learning. Not only will the students be introduced to science concepts dealing specifically with ecosystems, but they will also use math and technology in meaningful ways. Through the course of this unit, they will calculate percents and ratios, estimate areas on a map, make pie graphs, use the Internet to perform research, and create a multimedia presentation. Although each lesson includes the specific performance objectives achieved for each grade level, the following general concepts are covered:

Subject Strand Lessons
1 2 3 4 5
Science 1 x x x x x
2     x    
3     x    
4 x x x   x
6 x x      
Math 1 x   x x  
2   x x x  
4 x     x  
Technology 1   x     x
2   x     x
3         x
4         x
5   x     x

Download This Unit

The lessons in this unit are available in a standard PDF form:


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