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Biomes Webquest

"Make Me Fit"

A WebQuest for 5th Grade

Biomes and Adaptations


Introduction | Task | Process | Evaluation | Conclusion


Introduction to Biomes

The world is made up of many different biomes.  Biomes are large regions of the world with similar plants, animals, and other living things that are adapted to the climate and other conditions.1 There are many different classifications of biomes, but we will focus on six major terrestrial (land) ones:
   1) Tundra
   2) Taiga
   3) Rain Forest - tropical and temperate
   4) Desert
   5) Grasslands - tropical and temperate
   6) Temperate Deciduous Forest
 
A biome is made of many similar ecosystems. Ecosystems are the interactions between the living things and the nonliving things in a place. In an ecosystem, the plants, animals, and other organisms rely on each other and on the physical environment – the soil, water, and nutrients, for example. An ecosystem is often much smaller than a biome, although the size varies. At any given time, ecosystems may get out of balance and will adapt/change.

Within each biome, the living organisms have adaptations to help them survive in these sometimes extreme environments. For example, a rabbit in the tundra may have larger feet to hop on the snow and white fur to hide from its enemies.
 
The unique climate and living conditions of each biome create wide variety on our wonderful planet. You are an ecologist who is researching the biomes of the world and the adaptations of the plants and animals that inhabit the different biomes. What does each biome look like?  How does the climate in a particular biome affect the lives of the living things that live there?  How have plants and animals adapted to survive in each unique biome?  It is your challenge to find out!
 

Task

You are an ecologist who discovered a new animal in the Polar biome. It is not surviving there. Based on the adaptations of that newly discovered animal, you need to persuade members of BEANS (Biome Ecologists for the Advancement of New Species) of the suitability of this new animal to survive in one of the other biomes of the world. Your team will research the six major biomes and determine the biome best suited for the survival of your new animal. You will then use your knowledge of the climate and common animal characteristics of a biome to design adaptations that give your new animal the best chance of survival in that biome.
 

Process

1. Biome Map: Click on and print the world map at the link below. Biomes are typically classified by their average temperature and precipitation. Then, color the blank world map to show where different biomes are located. (Use the Biomes of the World link for reference.)  Be sure to create a key for your colored map and write the definition of "biome" on the map.

Blank World Map

Biomes of the World

 
2. Biome Web Research: First, the class will research one example biome with your teacher to understand the process. Then, the class will be divided into teams with each student on the team assigned to research one of the major biomes. Your research includes a biome description, climate, plants, animals, and adaptations made by living things in the biome. You will plan your research and record data using the Research Form below. Biome information can be found using the Internet Links below and other online resources found on the Science resources page. Your biome research can be supplemented using your textbook, encyclopedias, and other non-fiction books.
 
3. Scrapbook: After completing your biome research, you will create a "biome scrapbook" document that presents the important information from your research and pictures supporting your research. This document must meet the requirements as outlined in the link below, including a title page, a description/climate page, animal pages, and plant pages. The instructions also include options for extra credit. If you are working with others, the scrapbook instructions include a planning sheet to determine who will complete each part of the assignment.  You will present your scrapbook to the class, discussing the adaptations of the plants and animals in that biome necessary for survival.  Once each scrapbook review is complete, all members of the class should have a good understanding of the critical details of the six major biomes.
 
4. New Animal Survival: You will be assigned to a team of ecologists, one with expertise in each of the major biomes. As described above, your team of ecologists have discovered a new animal in the Polar biome and it is not surviving there. You need to find a new place on Earth for this animal to live. Based on the adaptations of that newly discovered animal, you need to persuade members of BEANS (Biome Ecologists for the Advancement of New Species) of the suitability of this new animal to survive in one of the other biomes of the world. Based on your research, the team should select the biome best suited for the survival of your new animal. You can use the online resources found on the Science resources page to help support your decision.  The team should create a short persuasive argument (one or two detailed paragraphs) explaining why the animal is best suited for life in a particular biome. This includes physical and behavioral adaptations necessary for living in the climate, avoiding predators, and accessing food sources.  The example below presents this argument using Fotobabble.
 

 

            Example 
            Team 1
            Team 2
            Team 3
            Team 4
            Team 5
            Team 6 
 
 
 
5. Adaptations: You will then use your knowledge of the climate and common animal characteristics of a biome to design adaptations that give your new animal the best chance of survival in that biome. You will create the "perfect" animal suited to live in that biome. You will detail what your animal looks like, how it behaves, and why it is suited to a particular biome.  As in the previous step, think about the physical and behavioral adaptations necessary for living in the climate, avoiding predators, and accessing food sources.  Use the planning sheet to organize the information for your request, and then use the relocation application to submit the request (persuasive essay) for your adapted animal to be moved to a new biome.
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

Evaluation of Relocation Application

  EX ME/AP BE

Body Part and
Body Covering
Adaptations

Includes many details that describe how its body parts and body covering adaptations will help it survive in its new biome. Includes some details that describe how its body parts and body covering adaptations will help it survive in its new biome. Includes no detail that describe how its body parts and body covering adaptations will help it survive in its new biome.
Behavorial
Adaptations
Includes many details that describe how its behaviorial adaptations will help it survive in its new biome. Includes some details that describe how its behaviorial adaptations will help it survive in its new biome. Includes no details that describe how its behaviorial adaptations will help it survive in its new biome.
Persuasive
Style
Clear supportive evidence is given for all reasons for relocation of animal to the new biome. Clear suppportive evidence is given for some reasons for relocation of animal to the new biome. No suppportive evidence is given for reasons for relocation of animal to the new biome.
Illustration Completely matches the written description and includes labels for all adaptation parts in the illustration. Partially matches the written description and includes labels for some adaptation parts in the illustration. Does not match the written description and includes no labels for adaptation parts in illustration.
 

 

Enrichment and Extension Activities

  • Create biome posters to illustrate the differences found in the climate, landforms, plants, and animals.
  • Create a diorama that has a model of the created animal as well as features of the biome in which it will be best suited.
  • Do an oral presentation to introduce the new animals to the class and reasons for adaptability to a particular biome.
  • Create a life cycle chart to illustrate the life cycle, including stage names, for the new animal.
 
 
Adapted from webquest created by Jennifer Cooper and Kelby Moul, Park Hills Elementary,
South Western School District, Hanover, PA.
Updated by Robert James on December 31, 2010.

 
Footnotes:
 
Images:
Top of page: http://www.hyd-masti.com/2009/03/strange-animal-photos.html
Ecosystem: http://susty.com/ecosystem-nature-environment/
Scrapbook: http://www.spendingless101.com/2008/06/09/create-free-online-scrapbooks/
Globe: Microsoft clipart 
Tree Frog: http://amazingdata.com/animal-camouflage-pictures/