Lesson Plan


Characteristics of a desert habitat
Emily D.
Early childhood provider
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My Grades Pre-K

By the end of this lesson, the 3rd grade studentswill be able to demonstrate their knowledge of the desert habitat by compiling six important facts about deserts into a “Habitat Research” book with 80% accuracy.

Grades 3
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Watch short video clip from the movie Rango. Discuss with students the setting of the movie and what type of habitat that would be.

Remind students about what they have learned so far this unit about habitats. Discuss definition of habitat, things a habitat provides, and what kind of habitat the video portrays.

This lesson focuses specifically on the desert habitat. Students will be making a book over the course of the unit pertaining to Habitats, with a page or two for each type of habitat. Today they will make two pages with all the important information about deserts.

2 Discussion and Guided Practice

Activity: Conversing

Pass out the Desert Habitat Information sheet and have students take turns reading each fact aloud. Stop after each fact is read to discuss in greater detail and allow for questions.

Discussion Guide:

  1. Weather -
  • There is very little rainfall, getting under 10 inches of rainfall a year.
  • Most deserts are hot.
  • Can there be cold deserts?
  • There are a few cold deserts, such as the Taklimakan desert in China. 

  • What are the differences and similarities between hot deserts and cold deserts?

Bring up a picture of a World Map and circle all of the hot deserts in red and cold deserts in blue.

2. Plants -

  • What kinds of plants might there be in the desert?
  • Briefly talk about cactuses. --> They provide food for some animals. They can survive because they are able to store water inside of them.
  • Most plants need lots of water to grow, but plants in the desert have ways of retaining water to survive.

3. Animals - 

  • What kinds of animals might you find in the desert?
  • Some types of birds
  • Snakes, lizards, chameleons (like Rango)
  • Scorpions
  • Coyotes
  • Jack rabbits

3 Independent Practice

Activity: Creating

Hand out Research papers. Read through each question before allowing students to begin. Highlight expectations for answers.

Using the information from the Desert Habitat Information sheet and from the discussion, students will work with a partner to answer the questions on the paper.

When pairs have completed the questions, they may enter it into their unit Habitat book and begin working on their Desert Art project. For this project, students will create their own desert habitat landscape using items and art supplies of their choice.

Guidelines for this project: Two animals and one plant must be represented, the student must indicate whether the desert is hot or cold, and the project must be flat enough to be entered into their Habitat book when completed.

4 Self-Assessment and Closure

Have a quick review of important facts about deserts. When art projects have been completed, students will complete a short quiz on BrainPop to test their knowledge about deserts.

Before students can move on to the next subject they must complete an exit ticket stating one interesting or new fact they learned about deserts in this lesson.