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.

Browse Our Curriculum Materials

Results

Showing results 21-19 of 19

  • Students record the temperature of different surfaces.

    In the classroom, students review the properties of waves. On the field trip, students investigate what objects absorb and retain the most heat, and then use sound waves to find local birds. They observe how lenses change light waves, discovering how common objects use lenses to bend light to meet our needs, and they investigate how sunscreen blocks UV waves. Back in the classroom, students discuss when our use of heat, light, or sound waves becomes overuse.

    Type:
    Lesson Plan
    Grade level:
    Sixth Grade
    Subjects:
    Physical Science
    Keywords:
    Waves, reflection, refraction, conduction, Convection, absorption, radiation, UV light, birds
  • 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
  • Rough mules ear (Wyethia scabra)

    Students explore genetics by comparing desert plant adaptations, riparian plant adaptations, and a few desert plants and animals adapted to nighttime activities. Their field activities include: rough observation and data collection, a clue trail, plant keys, a story, and a smelling game. In classroom activities, students take on the identity of a desert plant or animal, and later create an imaginary plant with adaptations for survival in its imaginary environment.

    Type:
    Lesson Plan
    Grade level:
    Fifth Grade
    Subjects:
    Biology: Plants
    Keywords:
    genetics, inherited traits, variation, mutation, plant keys, desert adaptations
  • 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
  • This bilingual (Spanish/English) lesson plan walks students through the rock cycle focusing mainly on sedimentary rocks and weathering and erosion. Lesson designed by Teacher-Ranger-Teacher Carol Serrano Treider.

    Type:
    Lesson Plan
    Grade level:
    Third Grade-Fifth Grade
    Subjects:
    Geography, Geology
    Keywords:
    geology, sandstone, sedimentary, Rock Cycle, weathering, erosion, metamorphic, igneous
  • Traveling Safely in the Desert

    This in-class presentation explores the tools a student needs to hike safely in the desert ecosystem. Students learn their directions, things to bring with them, and what to do if they get lost.

    Type:
    Lesson Plan
    Grade level:
    Third Grade
    Subjects:
    Physical Fitness
    Keywords:
    landmarks, navigation, hiking safety, compass
  • In this bilingual (spanish & english) hands-on lesson plan students will learn about the three types of rocks and "make" each type.

    Type:
    Lesson Plan
    Grade level:
    Third Grade-Fifth Grade
    Subjects:
    Geology
    Keywords:
    geology, Rock Cycle, rock types, metamorphic, igneous, sedimentary
  • up-close investigation of rocks

    Students explore a few rocks and minerals of the area. They investigate how sandstone was formed and experiment with erosion to demonstrate how local landforms are the result of sand and rock being removed. Students explore biological soil crust, and search for clues to discover how we use rocks compared to the people who lived here in ancient times.

    Type:
    Lesson Plan
    Grade level:
    Second Grade
    Subjects:
    Earth Science
    Keywords:
    sedimentary rocks, stone tools, erosion, minerals, Biological Soil Crust, deposition
1
  • 2