This simple STEM activity teaches kids all about desert biomes and how they work in a hands-on activity to build a desert biome.
Monkey has always loved science experiments for kids. If you so much as mention the word “science” to her, her ears will perk up and she will stop what she is doing to come see what you are talking about.
Last year, Monkey did a mini thematic unit on deserts for third grade, but we never got around to completing any hands-on activities that related to deserts. This build a desert biome activity made up for our lack of hands-on projects last year.
What is Desert Biome?
Biomes are catagories that divide parts of the world based on what type of soil, animals, climate, and plants an area has. There are five biomes on earth:
Desert biomes take up about 1/3 of the land mass of earth. This picture from NASA shows all deserts not artic in nature:
Build a Desert Biome Science Activity for Kids
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To build a desert biome you will need:
- Jar or bottle with sealed lid
- Desert plants (we used a succulent)
- Desert animal or bug toys (optional)
Create a mixture of sand and dirt that is mostly sand. The dirt is still necessary to allow the plants to grow. That is why in areas where there is solid sand, you don’t really see much of any plant life. Pour the mixture into the jar.
Let the kids arrange the plants/rocks/sticks etc. however they like into the jar. Pour about half a cup of water into the jar.
Close the top of the jar and place it in a sunny place. In just a couple of days, you should see a bit of condensation near the top of the jar. This indicates your biome is working!
Note how the plant reacts and grows over a period of several weeks. Our cactus is quite happy in its jar.