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Drylands/Deserts Theme Page

This "Theme Page" has links to two types of resources related to the study of Drylands/Deserts. Students and teachers will find curricular resources (information, content...) to help them learn about this topic. In addition, there are also links to instructional materials (lesson plans) which will help teachers provide instruction in this theme. Please read our (The) A-Z of Camels

A page dedicated to the camel in the Middle East. It explains many of the camel's physical features that make it well suited to life in harsh, desert conditions. The author briefly describes the camel's history, how it is used today, and speculates on its future in the desert.

Aridlands Newsletter
A semi-annual publication that investigates and documents many activities and issues concerning drylands that would be useful for Senior Secondary students. These topics include:

Biomes - Desert
This 2001 Thinkquest Website explores the most important seven biomes of the world, including the desert. A lesson plan for grades 7-10 on the topic of biomes is included, as are matching games and a section on the impact of humans on the destruction of deserts.

Desert Fishes Council
A map of the world provides the locations of deserts. You click on the desert of interest and a menu will appear with a listing of all the fish found in waters related to your desert of choice. From this listing, there are links to fish images, maps and information.

A multidisciplinary teaching unit from Core Knowledge for Grade 6 students. Nine lessons introduce students to the geography of the Middle East, how deserts are formed, and the location, landform and special features of the world's greatest deserts.

Desert Field Trip
This is the starting point for a virtual field trip on deserts from Tramline. Experts in the subject have selected a number of Websites on deserts and arranged them in a sequence to tell a story for students to follow. Students can move from one Web stop in the field trip to the next with ample opportunity to explore within the individual Website as they wish. However, since their Web browser page has been split into an inner part (showing that stop in the field trip) and an outer part (giving navigational tools to go through the entire field trip), they can always return to their "tram" and go to the next stop. To be effective, teachers would have to ensure that student browsing through the field trip sites was purposeful. Teacher guides can be printed.

Deserts in Literature and Art
This Website from OneWorld magazine allows you to explore the diversity of the desert through articles, paintings, sculptures, poems, and photographs organized under the themes of the remote, the sands, and the West. There is also a small desert education section.

Desert USA
Browse through the magazine (check the index) or use the following links to take you directly to specific pages with articles and educational materials regarding desert plants, animals, environments, and people.
  • Desert Animals and Wildlife More than 45 articles featuring desert mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, and reptiles.
  • Desert Environment An informative article describing what a desert is. It also has links to more information about the four US deserts: Great Basin Desert, Sonoran Desert, Mojave Desert, and Chihuahuan Desert.
  • Desert Glossary Defines many geological terms.
  • Desert Life - Introduction Reading this page first will set the context in which desert life has evolved and adapted.
  • Desert People and Cultures This page has links to information about Ancient Peoples, Native Americans:{Pueblo, Pimans, Yumans, Dene and Shoshonean}, Historical Figures and Desert Settlers.
  • Desert Plants and Wildflowers Features over 35 plants and related information from deserts in the US.
  • Geomorphology of the Desert Compares and contrasts the different geological structures between the four US deserts.

The Desertification Debate
A lesson plan for grades 6-9 students to learn about desertification. Includes links to external sites with information regarding desertification.

Digital Desert Library
Supported by New Mexico State University and the Smithsonian, this Website includes a desert database, which students can use to find information about plants, animals, and non-living substances found in the desert, a section for teachers with classroom activities and resources, as well as a Just for Kids section.

EcoQuest: Desert Edition
"EcoQuest: Desert Edition, was designed for 7th and 8th graders trying to learn more about the desert ecosystem, weather, characteristics, and other interesting aspects. Students look at the characteristics and challenges of the desert through the eyes of certain professions. After they learn about the desert and complete the assignments given to them, they are to design a multimedia presentation describing what they have found and present it back to the class."

On the line: deserts
This Website by Oxfam, WWF, and Channel 4 uses photos and text to explore various aspects of the desert such as climate, landscape, geography, and plant life.

Soils of Arid Regions of the United States and Israel
A page with links to soil resources for elementary and middle school teachers on units, lesson plans, and soil information.

Science: Earth
There are two lesson plans on desert content:
  • "Creating Water in the Desert". A lesson demonstrating evaporation and condensation for students from K-12.
  • "Day and Night in the Desert". Designed for intermediate students, this is a hands-on project recording desert activity during day and night.

Virtual Guidebook to the Southern Deserts of California
Web Site with numerous panoramas of the Southern Deserts of California ranging from Palm Springs to the Colorado desert. Requires QuickTime. Limited advertising.

What's It Like Where You Live? Desert Biome
A comprehensive site explaining many questions about deserts. It defines what a desert is, the types of deserts, causes for deserts, and some of the plant and animal life.

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Note: The sites listed above will serve as a source of curricular content in Drylands. For other curricular resources in Social Studies (e.g., Canadian Studies, Current Events), or for lesson plans and theme pages, click the "previous screen" button below. Or, click here if you wish to return directly to the CLN menu which will give you access to educational resources in all of our subjects.

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