Curriculum Materials

These lessons are designed for grades one through six in a desert landscape, but many could be adapted to other grades and other ecosystems. Click here for tips on successfully managing an outdoor classroom.

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Showing results 1-10 of 11

  • Preparing for Winter

    This in-class presentation uses story and visualization to explore how different types of animals survive the winter.

    Type:
    Lesson Plan
    Grade level:
    Second Grade
    Subjects:
    Biology: Animals, Biology: Plants
    Keywords:
    winter survival, hibernation, migration
  • Imaginary River Trip

    Students take an imaginary river trip -- right in their classrooms. Along the way they explore how humans, animals, and insects use the river to survive.

    Type:
    Lesson Plan
    Grade level:
    First Grade
    Subjects:
    Recreation Ecology
    Keywords:
    river, rafting, water use
  • Cactus blooms

    Students observe and compare different methods of seed dispersal. They learn about bat behavior and anatomy, and explore how a lizard's skin helps it survive. Lastly, they discover the link between the shape of a bird's beak and the food it can eat.

    Type:
    Lesson Plan
    Grade level:
    Second Grade
    Subjects:
    Biology: Animals, Biology: Plants
    Keywords:
    echolocation, seed dispersal, beak, adaptations, lizards
  • Cultural Contributions

    A pre-trip activity introduces archeology and the artifacts that provide clues to the lives of ancient people. On the field trip, students make their own pottery, cordage, and rock art replicas, and examine an ancient rock art panel. Back in the classroom, students create a timeline of their own lives to learn how vandals can destroy the archeological record.

    Type:
    Lesson Plan
    Grade level:
    Fourth Grade
    Subjects:
    Archaeology
    Keywords:
    rock art, artifacts, Utah history, prehistory, archeology, cordage, petroglyph, pictograph, pottery
  • Students will participate in a virtual dig and use accompanying field notes and action photos to investigate their own online "hearth" site.

    Type:
    Lesson Plan
    Grade level:
    Sixth Grade-Eighth Grade
    Subjects:
    American Indian History and Culture, Anthropology, Archaeology, History
  • student examines a snail

    Students examine the interaction of elements of the food chain - producers, consumers and decomposers - through dioramas and art projects in the classroom. In the field, a story and an active game reinforce predator-prey relationships. Students examine decomposers and their vital role in the nutrient cycle, then they investigate energy loss in the high desert food chain.

    Type:
    Lesson Plan
    Grade level:
    Third Grade
    Subjects:
    Ecology
    Keywords:
    interactions, food chain, nutrient cycle, predator, prey, ecosystems
  • Life Cycles

    Students explore plant changes by performing a play depicting the life cycle of a wildflower through the seasons. They explore life cycles of frogs and toads, along the way discovering the difference between them. Students learn about insect metamorphosis, focusing on moths and butterflies, and discover the surprising world of insect galls.

    Type:
    Lesson Plan
    Grade level:
    First Grade
    Subjects:
    Biology: Animals, Biology: Plants, Ecology
    Keywords:
    Life cycle, metamorphosis, seasonal changes, Butterflies, frogs, insects, galls
  • Mature soil crust nurtures seedlings.

    This outdoor lesson plan includes three hour-long investigations: discovering pothole dwellers, examining lichens, and investigating biological soil crusts. In the classroom, students examine photographs of common microorganisms and use microscopes to search for organisms in pothole water.

    Type:
    Lesson Plan
    Grade level:
    Sixth Grade
    Subjects:
    Biology: Animals, Biology: Plants
    Keywords:
    algae, Fungi, microorganism, bacteria, Biological Soil Crust, lichen, desert pothole
  • Desert bighorn ram

    Students first play a board game describing the habits and hardships of desert bighorn sheep. Outside, students explore the tracks and track patterns of animals that live in bighorn sheep habitat, learn about plants bighorns eat, play a bighorn trivia game, and learn to identify the birds that share bighorn habitat. Back in the classroom, students put clues together to solve the mystery of how microorganisms could wipe out a herd of sheep.

    Type:
    Lesson Plan
    Grade level:
    Sixth Grade
    Subjects:
    Biology: Animals, Ecology
    Keywords:
    virus, bacteria, Desert Bighorn Sheep, habitat, parasites
  • Force, Motion, & Primitive Technologies

    Students explore different types of simple machines by examining ancient technologies. Students examine different types of levers using digging sticks and throwing atlatls. They discover how wheels and axles were used to make fire, and how rock wedges can become useful tools.

    Type:
    Lesson Plan
    Grade level:
    Third Grade
    Subjects:
    Physical Science
    Keywords:
    simple machines, gravity, friction, stone tools, fire making
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