World Biomes Internet Activity: How can we identify and describe biomes of the world through internet clues?





        Plants have evolved to survive in a variety of physical conditions and their physical characteristics can indicate climate. Patterns between plants and climate can be understood by studying World Biomes.


Student Objectives:


        Identify, describe and compare biomes of the world through mapping based on internet clues

        Identify locations within a biome and describe their latitude and longitude

        Create group travel posters and color-coded maps of each of the major world biomes

        Develop an understanding of how the Earth can be divided into regions based on dominant plants and animals and climate characteristics

        Explain the importance of preserving diversity of species and habitats

        Describe how climate is influenced by latitude, proximity to large bodies of water, ocean currents, prevailing winds and vegetation.


Illinois State Content Standards:


        12.B.4a: Compare physical, ecological and behavioral factors that influence interactions and interdependence of organisms.

        12.B.5a: Analyze and explain biodiversity issues and the causes and effects of extinction.


Curriculum areas:

        biology, earth science, world geography, social studies



        markers, colored pencils, poster sized paper, tape




        Biome Data Sheet

        Travel Poster



Introduction and Background


A variety of plants can be found all over the world. Plants define and give shape to the landscape they are found in. For example, plants in tropical climates are adapted to wet, rainy seasons and can have unique structures for survival in that climate. Plants found in arctic ecosystems, will probably be very different from tropical species. These plants will have to physically adapt to soil and water that is frozen during most of the year. In this activity, students will study the characteristics of major world biomes. They will also be introduced to agriculture in each biome and analyze threats posed to each biome due to human activity.


Instructional methods


1.      Packets can be prepared for each group containing the Biome Data Sheet for each student, the list of internet websites for their biome, map of the continents, newsprint paper and a colored pencil.


2.      Before class, use a marker to roughly sketch out a map of the continents onto a large sheet of butcher paper. Use your overhead projector to enlarge a map for tracing onto butcher paper taped to the wall.


3.      Divide students into the following groups:

Group 1: Tropical Rainforests

Group 2: Grasslands

Group 3: Deserts

Group 4: Temperate Deciduous Forests

Group 5: Taiga

Group 6: Tundra

Group 7: Marine Biomes

Group 8: Freshwater Biomes


4.      Using computers, each group should investigate the list of websites about their assigned biome. As a team, they can divide up the tasks and share information with each other and record information in the Biome Data Sheet.


5.      Each team should shade in one small map of the Earth showing approximately the ranges of their biome.


6.      When each team has completed the Biome Data Sheet, a group eco-travel poster based on a particular geographical area within their assigned biome should be designed. Each travel poster should be clearly labeled with the name of the biome on the top. Major characteristics of the biome should be featured in each poster. See Eco-travel Poster Rubric.


7.      The teams should take time to present each poster to their classmates. Each team should explain major characteristics of their biome, including characteristics, location, examples of agricultural/forestry products and threats.


Questions for Discussion


        What is a biome?

        What is a climax community?

        How would you distinguish one biome from another?

        Compare and contrast several biomes. What makes each one so unique and distinct?

        Is it possible to have biomes within another biome? (Think mountains!)

        How does climate play a role in shaping a biome?

        Which abiotic factors are important in determining the character of a biome?

        In forest biomes, how do plants contribute to climate?

        What happens when the plants and animals in a biome are destroyed?

        Why is biodiversity important to each biome?

        How do agricultural food plants change with the biome they are grown in?

        How do agricultural food plants depend upon the biome they are grown in?

        How have humans impacted biome ecosystems positively and negatively?

        What are the major threats to each biome?

        How can humans preserve biome ecosystems for future generations?

        How can humans preserve biome ecosystems without destroying the agricultural productivity of those areas?

Last updated by Katherine Plager on October 24, 2004