The Topic: 
Deserts


 Easier - A desert is a dry, often sandy place. Few plants grow in deserts because there is so little rainfall.
 
Harder - A desert is a region that supports little plant life because of insufficient moisture and dry soil. They are usually (but not always) hot, barren regions that receive little rainfall. Deserts, also called arid regions, characteristically receive less than 10 inches of rainfall per year. Deserts cover about one-fifth of the earth's surface.
 
Deserts have varied landscapes created by water and wind erosion and by deposits of silt, sand, and other sediments. And though rain is scarce in all desert regions, deserts are not total wastelands. Deserts usually have at least one permanent drainage system of dry stream beds.  
 
Desert USA 
http://www.desertusa.com/index.html
This ultimate desert resource lets you visit North American deserts through pictures, stories and video clips.
 
Desert Biome 
http://mbgnet.mobot.org/sets/desert/index.htm
Site has information on deserts: what they are, where they are located, and the plants and animals which live in them.
 
Deserts of Our World: A Literary Adventure 
http://www.envirolink.org/oneworld/focus/deserts/index.html
Experience the diversity and cultural richness of the world's deserts through the people who have been challenged by their uniqueness and rewarded by their remoteness. Writer contributors include Hillerman, Nichols, and others.
 
Living Desert, The 
http://www.livingdesert.org/
This is the website of a wildlife and botanical park devoted to desert habitats of the world, home to many of the world's rarest animals and plants.
 Complete a Desert WebQuest. Take part in one of these interactive webQuest missions about the desert environment and its inhabitants. You may need to adapt some of the plans but have fun and learn. 
1) Deserts of the World http://horizon.nmsu.edu/ddl/wqdesertworlds_k.html
2) EcoQuest: Desert Edition (Grade 7-8) http://members.aol.com/QuestSite/1/2.html
3) Deserts of the World WebQuest (Grade 3) http://www2.lhric.org/henhud/webquest/desert1.htm
4) Is There Life in the Desert? (Grade 4-6) http://www.ccsd.net/schools/hoggard/Desert.html
5) The Desert is Ours by Stephanie Tennille (Arizona Sonoran Desert) http://coe.west.asu.edu/students/stennille/ST3/desertwq.htm#intro
6) The Living Desert: Wildlife Park (Grade 4-6)
http://teacher.esuhsd.org/webquests/webquests/living_desert/WQ055.html
7) North American Deserts http://wapiti.pvs.k12.nm.us/~Computer/deserts.htm
 
A Dozen Desert Survival Tips. After visiting Desert Animal Survival (Desert USA) to learn about animal adaptation and survival, begin to consider what procedures people have to follow when traveling in a desert. Visit some other websites (Desert Survival, Desert Dangers!, Desert Survival, and the Arizona State Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs' Desert Survival Safety Tips); then compose your list of a "Dozen Desert Survival Tips." Place them in an order of importance.
 
Desert Writings. Visit Deserts of Our World and read literature about deserts. Then visit the Digital Desert Project and take a photographic tour of a desert area. Write a story or poem about the desert setting. Or look at the Diary of Jedediah Strong Smith, write your own fictional desert adventure.
 
Create a Desert Garden. Visit Desert USA, Desert Biome, The Living Desert, and Lower Sonoran Desert to see what plants are found in deserts. Then design your own desert garden. Include pictures of the plants that you decide to include. Don't forget to label and describe your desert plants. Protect your fragile garden; instruct your visitors in ways to protect the desert environment.
 
Create a Desert Mural. Visit the desert websites, then create a bulletin board mural. Plan the layout. Start with the desert landscape, then add typical plants, and animals. Don't forget insects and reptiles.
 
Desert Adventure. How will you survive the desert? You are stranded in the desert.How will you survive until help arrives.
Desert WebQuest: http://www.hilliard.k12.oh.us/resources/webquest/desertquest.html
 
Websites By Kids For Kids
Desert Animals
http://www.greeceny.com/ls/grade4/desert.htm
Learn about desert animals.Website by fourth graders.
 
Desert Explorer! (1999 ThinkQuest Project) 
http://library.thinkquest.org/28855/main.html
Here you can learn about the desert; its animals and plants, the climate and weather, the special landscape.
 
Desert at Mysterious Journey (1999 ThinkQuest Project) 
http://library.thinkquest.org/26634/desert/introf.htm
This website was designed for students to gain an understanding of the desert tropic area.
 
Desert At Earth's Homepage (1998 ThinkQuest Project) 
http://library.thinkquest.org/19679/data/deserts.htm
Here is a brief overview of the desert landform.
 
Endangered Desert Animals of the U.S. (1999 ThinkQuest Junior Project) 
http://tqjunior.advanced.org/5788/
Here you can learn about these endangered desert animal species: the ocelot, kangaroo rat, Gila Monster, prairie dog, and peregrine falcon.
 
More Deserts Websites
Desert Animals 
http://arthur.k12.il.us/arthurgs/desanim.htm
This is a links-site to lots of desert animal webpages.
 
Deserts at On the Line 
http://www.ontheline.org.uk/explore/nature/deserts/deserts.htm
Here you can learn about the world of the desert; its plant and animal life and conservation efforts.
 
Deserts: Geology and Resources (U.S. Geological Survey) 
http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/deserts/contents/
Investigate what is a desert, types of deserts, causes of aridity, how dunes are formed, and more.

 

Desert Survivors
http://www.desert-survivors.org/survival.html 

 

Desert Tortoise Preserve Committee Inc. 
http://www.tortoise-tracks.org/
Site promotes the welfare of the desert tortoise, Gopherus agassizii, in the wild through the establishment of preserves such as the Desert Tortoise Natural Area.
 
Sonoran Arthropod Studies Institute 
http://www.sasionline.org/
This is the website of an organization devoted to the study of and the education about arthropods in the Sonoran Desert.
 
Some Desert Trips . . .
Deserts Field Trip
http://www.field-trips.org/tours/sci/desert/_tourlaunch5.htm
Start at the trailhead and make stops along your desert trip; just like an auto tour.
Related Website:
2) Deserts Field Trip (Teacher Resources)
http://www.field-trips.org/sci/desert/tr.htm
 
Diary of Jedediah Strong Smith: The Crossing of the Great Salt Lake Desert
(From the Mountain Men and the Fur Trade site) 
http://www.xmission.com/~drudy/mtman/html/jed.html
Read excerpts from this mountain man's diary as he crossed the Great Salt Lake Desert.
 
Digital Desert Project 
http://www.aeve.com/digitaldesert/ddad/ddinfo.html
This site provides photographic tours of several desert communities.
 
The Desert in Bloom
http://www.desertmuseum.org/desertinfo/exh_bloom.html
Find out about desert wildflowers.
 
Desert Studies (Grade 3) 
http://www.wested.org/tales/07desert01.html
Travel along through the Sonoran Desert.
 
Websites For Teachers
Amazing Desert Dwellers at Teachers.Net (Pre-school) 
http://teachers.net/lessons/posts/277.html
In this activity, students learn about the many adaptations desert animals have made to survive in their challenging habitat. The students then use this information to invent new creatures well-suited for desert life.
 
Deserts and The Southwest United States by Stacy Perri (Grade 3) 
http://www.ed.uiuc.edu/YLP/Units/Curriculum_Units/95-96/Desert_SPerri/table_contents.html
This unit lesson plan has twelve desert lesson plans.
 
The Desert Is Theirs by Byrd Baylor (Grade K-3) 
http://www.sdcoe.k12.ca.us/score/desert/deserttg.html
This cyberguide outlines a plan for students, working with partners or small groups, to investigate the plants, animals and people of the Arizona desert.
 
Desert Adaptations-Water (Grade 4-12) 
http://explorer.scrtec.org/explorer/explorer-db/rsrc/783750686-447DED81.1.htm
Since it is not practical, in most cases, to take students out in the desert and leave them, this hands-on activity is the next best thing.
 
cacti
arid
sand dune
burro
evaporation
Gila Monster
adaptation
overgrazing
climate
reptile
dehydration
dry stream bed
oasis
mesa
tortoise
rocks
silt
yucca
dry lake bed
mesquite
desertification
butte
flash flood
nocturnal
gravel
prospector
rainfall
camel
Joshua tree
Sidewinder
geology
biome
arroyos
snake
lizard
succulent
ghost town
agave
arthropod
Sahara
Saguaro
camel
 
 
 
Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, Updated by Nancy Smith, 9/01, 10/03.