Project Based Learning Activity: Alive in the Desert
This project integrates elements of science, math, ELA, social studies, and creativity into a student-driven final product. It will combine students’ imagination, creativity, and problem solving skills as they travel through deserts.
There are 16 activities for students to complete. Each page involves a problem or idea they must solve, recreate, or answer. Pages can vary from writing, math, map skills, real-world application, research, and problem solving/decision making skills.
7, 8 The Expedition
The cover and then an informational page for students to know they’ll be traveling to a desert.
9 Pack your bags
Students pick 8 items they will need on their trip (and tell why).
10 What Do You Know
A page to activate prior knowledge about deserts.
11 A Deserted World
Students identify some of the major deserts located around the world.
12 Desert Supplies
Students have a budget and must pick supplies they want to take for the trip.
13, 14 Animal inventory
Students select animals they found on their trip. Then they will create a chart to show comparisons between the kinds of animals.
15-18 Desert Animals
Three pages with areas for students to research animals (fence fox, gila monster, meerkat, camel, kangaroo rat, and rattlesnake). Plus, a blank sheet so they may select their own animals.
19 Adaptation Survival
Students research how camels, snakes, and chuckwallas use adaptations to survive in the desert.
20 Adaptation Chain
Students pick their own animal, research where it is on the food chain, and learn how it survives.
21 Animal App
Students create an app based on an animal of their choosing.
22-24 Desert Geography
Students draw and define 12 landforms found in deserts, over three pages.
Students write four journal entries to scenarios they encountered during their trip.
26 Insect Inquiry
Students “discover” a new bug in the desert.
27 Mapping the Trip
Students map out their trip by including landforms, animals, and trails they used.
28 Magazine Media
Students create a magazine cover based on their expedition.
29, 30 Problem Solver
Students answer six questions about the desert, most are open-ended.
As students work through each page, they will make their own decisions and choose the outcomes based on information they learn. By the end, all students will have completed the project, but each version will be based on the creator’s imagination, creativity, and knowledge base.
All pages can be geared towards multiple grade levels, although for some younger students the teacher may need to give more explicit instructions.
Students may choose to use multiple resources to complete each page. They might even choose to work with a partner, but you get final say on that.
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