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Hot Enough for Ya? All About Deserts
This activity will support objectives in geography, sociology, and science. It may also be completed in connection with a unit on ABCs. Students will use various resources to locate and research the deserts of the world and will complete a report on a desert animal. This lesson will establish the relevance of the learning content for students and build confidence in their ability to achieve the learning requirements.
Goals & Objectives:


-use an atlas to locate deserts of the world.

-use a CD-ROM encyclopedia, a print encyclopedia, easy books, juvenile 500s, and periodicals to research and describe human life in a desert, semidesert, or oasis. -state the difference between plagiarism and paraphrasing.

-use the card or automated catalog to research and report, in their own words, on desert animals.



-become interested in the research process.

-understand the importance of information skills.

-experience increased confidence in research ability

-understand the value of information skills.

-achieve satisfaction in research accomplishments.

Materials & Sources:

Resource List Deserts of the World activity Desert Animal worksheet Desert Pathfinder worksheet


Author: Beth Arant
Adapted by Kori Gerbig, School of Information Studies
Syracuse University
School Library Media Activities Monthly
June 1997; 13 (10); 16-21


-This unit may be taught by the classroom teacher or the library media specialist. However, a team approach would be the most beneficial.


Activity One
-Make a poster giving a color key for the five major deserts of the world. Draw or trace (using an opaque projector) a huge world map outline on two sheets of butcher paper taped together. Prepare five tags to correlate to the map key. Duplicate the "Desert Mobile" sheet and collect crayons, scissors, and yarn.
-The class locates the five major deserts in an atlas. Use a safety pin or paper clip to attach a desert label to each of five volunteers. Each volunteer stands on the coresponding area on the world map that was drawn on butcher paper. Repeat this location process until every student has had a turn to represent one of the deserts.
-Distribute the sheet with the mobile pattern (see Support Materials). Each student completes a desert mobile.

Activity Two
-Prepare thirty cards with book titles and call numbers that relate to desert life. Prepare a pack resembling a camel's saddlebag, with the cards in one side and rewards (stickers, pencils, bookmarks, etc) in the other.
-Read 'Roxaboxen,' 'Alejandro's Gift,' 'Vanishing Cultures:Sahara,' and 'Imagine Living Here:This Place Is Dry' to the children. Discuss the lifestyle of the humans or animals personified in the books. Take the children on an imaginary caravan through the library media center. The students take turns drawing a title/call number card of a desert book from the camel's pack and then lead the caravan on a hunt for the book. Once the book is located, the caravan leader receives a reward (sticker, pencil, bookmark, etc).
-The children watch the world news, read a national newspaper, or read a news periodical to further research what life is like in many of the deserts and desert oases around the world. Encourage the children to share their findings with the class and reward the children when they participate. (Supply the classroom teacher with rewards to use for findings shared in the classroom).

Activity Three
-Cut out some desert animal shape books. Include a cactus cut-out in case someone chooses an animal for which no shape is available.
-Read 'The Desert Alphabet Book,' Where the Buffalo Roam,'Look Closer: Desert Life,' 'Here is the Southwestern Desert,' and 'the Moon of the Wild Pigs.' Discuss with the students the different kinds of animals discovered in the desert. As the discussion focuses on a particular animal, model for the students the way to write up a brainstorm list. Then carry the list a step further and model the writing of a rough draft from the list. Work with students on paraphrasing-teach them how to put what they have read in their own words and avoid plagiarism.
-Encourage students to browse the 500s and the card or automated catalog. Have each child select a desert animal to research and write about in a desert animal shape book. Also allow students to share their books with other classes and the principal.

-Throughout the year, collect clippings from newspapers and periodicals about deserts, desert life, and/or desert animals. Always share these clippings with the classes involved and locate the desert on the world map or atlas to which the article pertained. Encourage the students to contribute to the collection. Make a scrapbook of desert information.
Activity One-The students will state the continent on which a given desert is located.Activity Two-The students will, in their own words, tell abot life in a given desert or oasis.Activity Three-The students' desert animal reports will be accurate in recorded information and in paraphrasing of the information.
School Library Media Activities Monthly June 1997; 13 (10); 16-21
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