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Desert Unit Study and Lapbook

Deserts Unit Study & Lapbook
We have completed our unit study on Deserts.  I’m glad my 7 yo son suggested it; we had a lot of fun!

First, here are some pictures of our diorama of the Sonoran Desert (of Arizona and Northern Mexico):
The four older kids chose what they wanted to make to put in the box.  We have desert tortoises, a barrel cactus, saguaro cactus, tarantulas, a coyote, a wolf spider, a Gila monster, a rattlesnake, a spadefoot toad, a roadrunner, and a yucca plant complete with yucca moth and caterpillar.

For our lapbook, I received most of these ideas from Homeschoolshare and Homeschool in the Woods, as well as a great book:  Discovering Deserts by Ranger Rick’s Nature Scope.

Our first section was all about desert animals.  The boys (ages 6 and 7) did a great job writing about different animals, such as rattlesnakes, camels, yucca moths and caterpillars, desert night hunters, roadrunners, nocturnal vs. diurnal animals, desert birds, jackrabbit vs. rabbit, tarantula, desert iguana, desert tortoise, scorpions, red-tailed hawk, Gila monster, coyotes, and kangaroo rat.

We wrote about how to survive in a desert and defined vocabulary words (succulent, evaporate, erosion, drought, venom, prey, predator, irrigation, oasis, desert, nocturnal, diurnal, photosynthesis, overgraze, nomad).

The next section had four different groups of desert people and items/ animals associated with them:  Bushmen, Hopi Indian, Aborigine, Tuareg.  And we wrote about desert climate.

Next was a wheel that shows what happens after it rains, a comparison of the Sahara and Sonoran Deserts, a world map of deserts that my son labeled, and desert landforms.

The last section was about desert vegetation.

We did a couple of easy science experiments on evaporation and growing salt crystals.

The craft ideas came from Crafts for Kids Who are Wild About Deserts (Ross):

Here is a rattlesnake, desert skunk (with and without spray), and a coyote:

Here are the books we read:


Desert Books:

The desert alphabet book (Pallotta, Jerry)

Deserts (Brewer, Duncan)

 Crafts for kids who are wild about deserts (Ross, Kathy)

Draw desert animals (DuBosque, D. C.)

In the desert (Schwartz, David M.)

The magic school bus gets all dried up : a book about deserts (Weyn, Suzanne)

Desert animals (Steele, Christy)

Desert (Star, Fleur)

Life in the desert (Legg, Gerald)

People of the deserts (Lambert, David)

Discovering deserts (Ranger Rick’s Nature Scope)

Wonders of the desert (Sabin, Louis)

Cactus desert (Silver, Donald M.)

Cactus hotel (Guiberson, Brenda Z.)

One day in the desert (George, Jean Craighead)

Alejandro’s gift (Albert, Richard E.)

Way out in the desert (Marsh, T. J.)

Deserts (Mariner, Tom)

The water hole (Base, Graeme)

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.)

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