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Desert Discovery Programs

A Walk in the Desert (Preschool and Kindergarten)

Let's take an imaginary walk through the desert to discover hidden animals and plants. While meeting some of these fascinating desert dwellers, students will identify the special adaptations each has for survival in the desert environment.

Teacher Resources

Program Objectives:

Through the examination of live animals, artifacts and interactive demonstrations students will:

Arizona Academic Standards Correlation:

Science Standards:
Strand 1: Inquiry Process
Concept 3: Analysis and Conclusions
Strand 4: Life Science
Concept 1: Characteristics of Organisms
Concept 4: Diversity, Adaptation and Behavior

Amazing Arthropods (Grades 2-3)

Introduce students to the incredible diversity of Sonoran Desert insects, spiders, and other fascinating arthropods. Examine live and preserved specimens to learn about habitats and adaptations. Determine the roles of various arthropods in desert food chains. Discover desert animals that devour these succulent and crunchy creatures.

Program Objectives:

Through the examination of live animals, artifacts and interactive demonstrations students will:

Arizona Academic Standards Correlation:

Science Standards:
Strand 3: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
Concept 1: Changes in Environments
Strand 4: Life Science
Concept 1: Characteristics of Organisms
Concept 2: Life Cycles
Concept 3: Organisms and Environments
Populations of Organisms in an Ecosystem
Concept 4: Diversity, Adaptation and Behavior

Creatures of the Night (all ages)

The desert is the place to be for lively night-life! From bats to kangaroo rats, meet the creatures that wake up once the sun has set. Find out about adaptations these creatures have for nocturnal living.

Teacher Resources

Program Objectives:

Through the examination of live animals, artifacts and interactive demonstrations students will:

Arizona Academic Standards Correlation:

Science Standards:
Strand 4: Life Science
Concept 1: Characteristics of Organisms
Concept 3: Organisms and Environments
Populations of Organisms in an Ecosystem
Concept 4: Diversity, Adaptation and Behavior

Desert Reptiles (all ages)

From lizards to tortoises and snakes, meet the awesome reptiles of the Sonoran Desert. Compare their diverse strategies for movement, defense, and feeding. Discover their unique adaptations to desert life.

Teacher Resources

Program Objectives:

Through the examination of live animals and artifacts students will:

Arizona Academic Standards Correlation:

Science Standards:
Strand 4: Life Science
Concept 1: Characteristics of Organisms
Concept 2: Life Cycles
Concept 3: Organisms and Environments
Concept 4: Diversity, Adaptation and Behavior

Drawing Desert Life (Grades 3-12)

Hone your powers of observation as you learn techniques for drawing desert plants and animals. As you sketch live animals and plants, Desert Museum educators will answer your questions about the structure and function of the features you observe, and the role of these organisms in our Sonoran Desert ecosystem.

Program Objectives:

Through the careful observation and analysis of living Sonoran Desert plants and animals, students will be able to:

Arizona Academic Standards Correlation:

Arts Standards: Articulated for 4th grade - Middle School and High School
Strand 2: RELATE
Concept 2: Materials, Tools and Techniques
Concept 4: Meanings or Purposes
Concept 5: Quality
Strand 3: EVALUATE
Concept 2: Materials, Tools, and Techniques
Concept 3: Elements and Principles
Science Standards: 4th - 8th grade
Strand 4: Life Science
Concept 1: Characteristics of Organisms
Structure and Function in Living Systems
Concept 4: Diversity, Adaptation, and Behavior
Science Standards: High School
Strand 4: Life Science
Concept 3: Organisms and Environments
Populations of Organisms in an Ecosystem
Interdependence of Organisms
Concept 4: Biological Evolution

Exploring Adaptations (Grades 3-12)

Desert plants and animals display a fascinating variety of adaptations that help them thrive here. Take a guided tour to explore how plants deal with the temperature extremes and aridity of their desert home. Then meet some live desert animals and identify their secrets to success as desert dwellers.

Teacher Resources

Program Objectives:

Through the examination of desert plants, live animals, and preserved specimens, students will:

Arizona Academic Standards Correlation:

Science Standards:
Strand 4: Life Science
Concept 4: Diversity, Adaptation and Behavior

Flying Friends (Grade 4)

Compare the feet, wings and beaks of different birds to discover their role in desert food chains. Meet live birds and find out what makes them incredibly well adapted to life in the Sonoran Desert.

Teacher Resources

Program Objectives:

Through the examination of hands-on artifacts, live birds, and interactive demonstrations, students will:

Arizona Academic Standards Correlation:

Science Standards:
Strand 1: Inquiry Process
Concept 1: Observations, Questions, and Hypotheses
Concept 3: Analysis and Conclusions
Strand 3: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
Concept 1: Changes in Environments
Concept 2: Science and Technology in Society
Strand 4: Life Science
Concept 1: Characteristics of Organisms
Concept 3: Organisms and Environments
Populations of Organisms in an Ecosystem
Concept 4: Diversity, Adaptation and Behavior
Strand 5: Physical Science
Concept 1: Properties of Objects and Materials

Geology Rocks! (Grade 3)

Have you ever wondered ... What's the difference between a rock and a mineral? Who needs minerals anyway? How rocks "travel" through the rock cycle? If so, then this is the program for you.

Program Objectives:

Through the examination and analysis of rock and mineral specimens, common household materials and live animals, students will be able to:

Arizona Academic Standards Correlation:

Science Standards:
Strand 4: Life Science
Concept 1: Characteristics of Organisms
Structure and Function in Living Systems
Concept 3: Organisms and Environments
Populations of Organisms in an Ecosystem
Interdependence of Organisms
Strand 6: Earth and Space Science
Concept 1: Properties of Earth Materials
Concept 2: Earth's Processes and Systems

Hunters and Hunted (Grades 3-5)

Meet the carnivores of the desert and their prey. Study the skulls and body structures of these animals. Determine how predators are successful hunters, and how their prey is often able to escape!

Teacher Resources

Program Objectives:

Through the examination of live animals, artifacts and interactive demonstrations students will:

Arizona Academic Standards Correlation:

Science Standards:
Strand 3: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
Concept 1: Changes in Environments
Strand 4: Life Science
Concept 1: Characteristics of Organisms
Concept 3: Organisms and Environments
Populations of Organisms in an Ecosystem
Concept 4: Diversity, Adaptation and Behavior

Plant and Animal Partners (Grades 1-2)

Investigate pollination and seed dispersal to discover how plants and animals depend upon each other. Learn about the special adaptations of hummingbirds, butterflies, and other pollinators that help them gather nectar from specific flowers. Students will meet live animals that help plants or are helped by plants.

Teacher Resources

Program Objectives:

Through the examination of live animals, artifacts and interactive demonstrations students will:

Arizona Academic Standards Correlation:

Science Standards:
Strand 1: Inquiry Process
Concept 1: Observations, Questions, and Hypotheses
Concept 3: Analysis and Conclusions
Strand 4: Life Science
Concept 1: Characteristics of Organisms
Concept 3: Organisms and Environments
Populations of Organisms in an Ecosystem
Concept 4: Diversity, Adaptation and Behavior

Saguaro Tales (Grades K-5)

Discover the desert plants and animals that interact with the saguaro and meet the animals that depend upon this giant for shelter and food. Learn how the saguaro and other desert plants are adapted to life in the Sonoran Desert.

Teacher Resources

Program Objectives:

Through the examination of live animals, artifacts and interactive demonstrations students will:

Arizona Academic Standards Correlation:

Science Standards:
Strand 4: Life Science
Concept 1: Characteristics of Organisms
Concept 2: Life Cycles
Concept 3: Organisms and Environments
Populations of Organisms in an Ecosystem
Concept 4: Diversity, Adaptation and Behavior
Strand 6: Earth and Space Science
Concept 3: Changes in the Earth and Sky

Saving Species (Grades 6-12)

Meet some Sonoran Desert native plants and animals that are in trouble, learn about their habitat requirements and identify changes that are causing some to disappear. Find out what you can do to help.

Teacher Resources

Program Objectives:

Through the examination of live animals, artifacts, and interactive demonstrations students will:

Arizona Academic Standards Correlation:

Science Standards:
Strand 3: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
Concept 1: Changes in Environments
Concept 2: Science and Technology in Society
Strand 4: Life Science
Concept 3: Organisms and Environments
Populations of Organisms in an Ecosystem
Concept 4: Diversity, Adaptation and Behavior

Sonoran Supermarket (Grades 3-12)

Today, basic survival for most of us means regular trips to the supermarket. But imagine living in the Sonoran Desert five hundred years ago. Everything you needed came from right here. This program explores local resources that native peoples of the Sonoran Desert - Tohono O'odham, Yaqui, and Seri - have traditionally used for food, medicines, fibers, and more. Students will experiment with ethnobotanical materials to make their own cordage and discover foods and tools they might find in their own backyards.
(No live animals used in this program)

Teacher Resources

Program Objectives:

Through the examination of ethnobotanical materials, artifacts and interactive demonstrations students will:

Arizona Academic Standards Correlation:

Science Standards:
Strand 3: Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
Concept 1: Changes in Environments
Strand 4: Life Science
Concept 3: Organisms and Environments
Populations of Organisms in an Ecosystem
Social Studies Standards:
Strand 1: American History
Concept 2: Early Civilizations
Concept 5: Westward Expansion
Concept 10: Contemporary U.S.
Strand 4: Geography
Concept 1: The World in Spatial Terms
Concept 2: Places and Regions
Concept 4: Human Systems
Concept 5: Environment and Society

Who Dung It? (Grades K-5)

Although it may be difficult to see some desert animals, they do leave many clues behind. The challenge is to figure out who left those clues. Students will become detectives to help solve the mystery of just who "dung it" in the desert. Students will identify and learn about various desert species through hands-on discoveries and live animal presentations.

Teacher Resources

Program Objectives:

Arizona Academic Standards Correlation:

Science Standards:
Strand 1. Inquiry Process
Concept 1: Observations, Questions, and Hypotheses
Concept 2: Scientific Testing (Investigating and Modeling)
Concept 3: Analysis and Conclusions
Concept 4: Communication
Strand 2: History and Nature of Science
Concept 2: Nature of Scientific Knowledge
Strand 4: Life Science
Concept 1: Characteristics of Organisms
Concept 3: Organisms and Environments
Concept 4: Diversity, Adaptation and Behavior

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