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Build a Desert Biome

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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.

You’ll also want to check out the ultimate list of summer STEM activities and the ultimate list of summer science experiments. 

Learning about biomes? This fun science activity shows you how to build a desert biome in a jar! Perfect for classrooms or homeschool!

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:

  • Aquatic
  • Tundra
  • Desert
  • Grasslands
  • Forest

Desert biomes take up about 1/3 of the land mass of earth. This picture from NASA shows all deserts not artic in nature:

Learning about biomes? This fun science activity shows you how to build a desert biome in a jar! Perfect for classrooms or homeschool!

Learn more about the five types of biomes here.

elementary stem challenge cards

Build a Desert Biome Science Activity for Kids

Learning about biomes? This fun science activity shows you how to build a desert biome in a jar! Perfect for classrooms or homeschool!

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To build a desert biome you will need:

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!

Learning about biomes? This fun science activity shows you how to build a desert biome in a jar! Perfect for classrooms or homeschool!

Note how the plant reacts and grows over a period of several weeks. Our cactus is quite happy in its jar.

elementary stem challenge cards

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