Media For Loan

Field Trip in a Box: Desert Adaptations

a mule deer with large ears and short, velvet-covered antlers
Mule deer are adapted to a range of habitats.

NPS photo by Andrew Kuhn


High desert plants and animals are adapted to their environment in many different ways.

Location Suggestions

• Windows Primitive Loop – behind North Window
• Balanced Rock Picnic Area
• Park Avenue - North side

Learning Stations 

Each station is designed for up to 10 students and requires 1/2 hour and one instructor (for larger groups we recommend dividing your group and teaching stations simultaneously, then having students switch stations.)

Optional Prep Activity (to be used if students are unfamiliar with desert ecosystems)
What’s My Adaptation? Take on the identity of a desert plant or animal.

1. Are Leaves Adapted? Observe leaves, and collect data in a scientific investigation to determine desert adaptations.

2. The Desert Ramble - Use plant keys to discover how traits are carried from parent to offspring.

3. Deer’s Ears - Pretend to be a mule deer, and use your keen sense of hearing to avoid your predators. Find out what adaptations your predators have for catching you as well.

4. Feathered Friends - Discover some adaptations unique to birds and go on walk searching for them.

Extension Back to School (assessment activity)  
Tell Me About It - Students work together to create brochures to educate others on the animals and plants found at Arches National Park.

Borrowing Instructions

To request a Field Trip in a Box, please submit the following information:

  1. Teacher/school information, including school address, phone number, and email address
  2. Which box you would like to borrow
  3. Your preferred dates, both first choice and alternate choice

Send us an email with your request.

You must request a Field Trip in a Box at least two weeks before your park visit. There is only one box available for each topic.

When you arrive at the park, check out the box at Arches Visitor Center during business hours, and return the box before you leave the park.

If you check out a Field Trip in a Box, you will be responsible for damage to its contents.


Biology: Animals, Biology: Plants, Ecology
Media For Loan

Last updated: December 19, 2017