Biomes and Water
LabLearner Discussion: Biomes and Water
In this short Primary+ Science Discussion, we introduce the concept of biomes. Biomes are large natural areas of habitat that are home to specific plants and animals. In addition, we wish to accentuate the importance of rainfall on the types of plants and animals that can inhabit various biomes.
Notice: Relevant LabLearner CELLs are listed at the bottom of this page.
Young children often think of rain in terms of how it affects their day – whether or not they can play outside, for example. In this short Science DiscussionTM, we would like your child to realize that the amount of rain that falls in various areas of the Earth has a great deal to do with the characteristics of the environment. We also introduce the concept of biomes. Biomes are large natural areas of habitat that are home to specific plants and animals.
As suggested in this image, the amount of rainfall a biome gets has a major impact on the nature and characteristics of that biome. In this Science DiscussionTM, we will only examine three individual biomes: Deserts, Temperate Forests and Rainforests. There are many other biomes that we will not have time to consider in this Discussion such as tundra, savanna, oceans, salt marshes, etc. You and your child may wish to learn more about other biomes on the internet.
The desert biome receives less than 25 cm of rain per year. This amount of annual rainfall is indicated by the cartoon metric stick shown in the upper left. Have your child look at this scene from a North American desert and discuss their observations. In particular, have them observe and discuss the plants that they see. Are there many trees? Do the plants look soft and moist or prickly and dry?
This image shows several animals that might be found in a desert biome. There is a desert rabbit, a rattlesnake, and a tarantula spider. You and your child should make observations and discuss these animals, for example their coloring to blend in with their surroundings. Once again, the metric stick indicates the low amount of rainfall is in the upper left.
This image depicts a typical temperate forest biome. Your child may notice that there is an abundance of water and green plants present. Focus on the types of plants they see. Are there trees? Do the plants look dry like in the desert biome? Also, focus discussion on the amount of average annual rainfall a biome like this one receives. The meter sticks show 160 cm of average annual rainfall. Notice that it takes two meter sticks to depict all the rainfall this type of biome receives in an average year.
This image shows several of the animals that live in temperate forest biomes. Notice that one of the examples, the turtle, actually spends much of its time in water. The turtle is a reptile, as is the rattlesnake in the desert biome. The deer is a mammal, as is the jackrabbit in the desert biome. Thus, similar animals can live in different biomes if they have adaptations to do so.
This is a tropical rainforest biome. Such biomes are found near the equator. Notice the high level of rainfall indicated by the meter sticks in the upper left, suggesting an average rainfall of about 350 cm per year. Some rainforests on some years may see a great deal more rainfall than the average indicated here. Even so, 360 cm (over three and a half meters) is almost the hight of a typical classroom ceiling!
Ask your child to observe the plants in the picture. Are there trees? Do the plants look dry and brownish as in the desert biome or more like the plants of the temperate forest? Have students observe and comment on the density of plant life in this rainforest. Look at how many more plants can grow in a rainforest compared to a desert. This is largely the result of the big difference in rainfall.
This image shows some of the animals that live in a rainforest. There are a couple green parrots, a monkey, and a green tree python. Have students observe the animals’ colors and how it helps them blend in with their surroundings. Also, notice that the picture includes a reptile and a mammal, just like in the desert and temperate forest. In this case, however, these animals have adaptations for their rainforest biome.
This final image simply consolidates rainfall information for the three biomes that where encountered in previous images. Your child might conclude that the amount of rainfall in a given biome has a major impact on the kinds of plants and animals that can live in it, and they would be correct!
Biomes and Water: Relevant LabLearner CELL Curriculum Units
Observation and Comparison
Water Cycle & Its Phases
Ecosystems & Changes
Inheritance & Adaptations