Overview: Draw contrasting scenes representing daytime and nighttime activities in the desert. Requires previous discussions of plant and animal life
1. Students tape four sheets of construction paper together into a two-by-two grid, with white or light blue on the upper left (day), black or dark blue on the upper right (night), and light brown on both bottom sections (underground).
2. Label the sections “day”, “night”, “underground”, etc. Students can also include information in small boxes such as normal daytime and nighttime temperatures, and rainfall.
3. Draw on white paper with markers or crayons, cut out and paste down plants and animals on both halves, showing what they do both during the day and the night. When and where do they sleep? When do they eat?
4. Lines can link predators and prey, and relationships between plants and animals.
5. Finished scenes can be used for display in the halls.
6. An alternative is to make one large diorama at the beginning of the desert unit. Tape a 10 cm cardboard “wall” to the edge of an empty table, and put in sand to cover. Assign individual students to use modeling clay or draw on cardboard the plants and animals as they are covered in the unit, and stick them in the sand. Over the course of the unit your 3-D desert will “come to life”. Plants and animals can be labeled with information about how they contribute to the desert ecosystem, and when they sleep and eat and if they spend part of their time underground.