Information for Teachers

Curriculum links

This investigation is linked to the following Grade 5 Next Generation Science Standards.

ESS2.C: The Roles of Water in Earth’s Surface Processes

Nearly all of Earth’s available water is in the ocean. Most fresh water is in glaciers or underground; only a tiny fraction is in streams, lakes, wetlands, and the atmosphere. (5- ESS2-2)

LS2.A: Interdependent Relationships in Ecosystems Organisms can survive only in environments in which their particular needs are met. A healthy ecosystem is one in which multiple species of different types are each able to meet their needs in a relatively stable web of life. Newly introduced species can damage the balance of an ecosystem. (5-LS2-1)

ESS3.C: Human impacts in Earth systems

Human activities in agriculture, industry, and everyday life have had major effects on the land, vegetation, streams, ocean, air, and even outer space. But individuals and communities are doing things to help protect Earth’s resources and environments. (5-ESS3-1)


How to search the internet

1 Keep your request short

Fewer words will give a more accurate search.

2 Choose exactly what you want

For example: Arctic Circle Climate

3 Use quotes

Double quotes around a set of words tell the search engine to consider those exact words in that exact order without any change. For example: “Arctic Circle Climate”

4 Use the plus sign (+)

If you add a plus sign (+) between words, the internet will search for all the words. For example: migrate+birds+whales+mammal

5 Use the minus sign (–) to say what you don’t want

Use a minus sign (–) to show words you do not want to appear in your results. For example: if you search for burrowing animals and do not want mammals in your search,  –mammals will exclude mammals. Note that you need to put a space before the minus sign for the word to be excluded.

6 Be very clear about what you don’t want

Part 1
Ask questions and define problems

After reading Deserts, you may have further questions about life in these dry environments.

List your questions

  • Compare your list with questions that others have.
  • Choose a question you would like to investigate.
  • You can work alone, with a partner, or in a small group.

You may want to choose one or more of these questions to investigate

Q1. Make a list of interesting animals or plants that are found in deserts. Compare all the ways each animal or plant has adapted to deal with the conditions in desert environments.

Q2. Investigate the arrival of new plant or animal species into a desert environment, e.g. feral cats moving into deserts. What changes have taken places after the arrival of the new species? Has the balance of the ecosystem been changed or damaged?

Go to Part 2 Investigate →

Part 2

Helpful websites

You may want to use websites to help with their investigations.

You can search for:







Go to Part 3 Record data →

Part 3
Record data

Find ways of recording your information that will allow you to see any patterns in the data.

Data Chart for comparing desert animals/plants

Download Chart
Go to Part 4 Organize, analyze, and interpret data →

Part 4
Organize, analyze, and interpret data

1. Look over the information you have gathered and the patterns you have found.

How do animals/plants avoid the heat?

What are the most amazing desert adaptations?

2. Search for other patterns.

Are these adaptations found in most deserts? Why?

What might happen if a new predator or grazing animal is introduced?

3. Makes notes about what you find.

Go to Part 5 Present and share →

Part 5
Present and share

Look over all of the information that you have gathered in your investigation.

What are the most important ideas about your topic?

Make a chart showing the most important ideas.

Download Chart
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