Plants and animals each have their own preferred climate. Some like the damp heat found in tropical rain forests, while others prefer the dry heat found in deserts. Biomes of Our Earth: Major Life Zones is a 25 minute video which explains how latitude effects land and describes the life and characteristics of the major biomes.
Going up in elevation is much like going north in latitude when it comes to biomes. Tropical rain forests are typically found near the equator (0 latitude) and near sea level in elevation, where as tundras, a cold treeless area of land, is typically found high on mountain tops and above the arctic circle. The other biomes such as chaparral and temperate rain forests are found at mid latitudes and mid elevations.
We read several picture books set in different biomes before performing our experiment.
North Pole South Pole
The Magic School Bus: All Dried Up: A Book About Deserts
In the Rain Forest: A Book about Rain Forest Ecology (Magic School Bus)
How does ground cover affect the temperature of the environment? This experiment was based on chapter 25 of Janice VanCleave's A+ Projects in Earth Science.
- Shoe boxes
- Ground materials such as sand, rocks, mud, grass, leaves
- Thermometers we used Exo Terra Liquid Crystal Thermometer - Although they didn't register temperatures below 69 degrees, they were cheap and worked well for this project.
If you're surfing for educational project ideas, check out these blog hops.