Free Curriculum and Resources

One Day in the Desert - Elementary Science Series

This module contains five activities: three interactive videos with instructions for hands-on activities and two optional assignments. The videos center on a guided reading of One Day in the Desert by Anna Keener. Students will follow Mariana and her classmates from Las Cruces, New Mexico as they take a field trip and learn about the unique plants, animals, history, and other features of the Chihuahuan Desert.

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Climate Change

Asombro works with the USDA Southwest Climate Hub to create hands-on, standards-aligned lessons for students.

10-hour Unit

Target audience: 6th-12th Grade Students

 Increased temperatures and altered precipitation will make water, a limited resource in the arid southwestern United States, even scarcer in many locations. With the aim of fostering climate literacy in our future citizens, we partnered with the USDA Southwest Climate Hub to create an engaging, fun, and scientifically rigorous education unit that is aligned with Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards.

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5-hour Unit

Target Audience: 6th-12th Grade Students

As the climate changes, increased temperatures and extreme events are predicted in the southwestern United States, which could impact crop productivity and food security. We partnered with the USDA Southwest Climate Hub to design an engaging, fun, and scientifically rigorous education unit aligned with Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards.

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3-hour Unit

Target Audience: 9th-12th Grade Students

This unit was designed to introduce 9-12th grade students to climate change, the carbon cycle, and the effects of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide on Earth’s climate. We partnered with the USDA Southwest Climate Hub to design this rigorous high-school level education unit aligned with Common Core State Standards and the three dimensions of the Next Generation Science Standards.

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45-minute Lesson

Target Audience: 6th-8th Grade Students

In this standalone lesson, students will interpret graphs to explore the causes of water shortages in the Southwestern United States and predict future conditions. They watch a video about traditional and current water conservation methods and then design, build, and test their own water conservation system. This lesson can be completed in-class, remotely, or as a homework assignment with suggested modifications.

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5-hour Unit

Target Audience: 9th-12th Grade Students

This unit was designed to introduce 9-12th grade students to the effects of climate change on wildfire in the Southwest. We partnered with the USDA Southwest Climate Hub to design this rigorous high-school level education unit aligned with Common Core State Standards and the three dimensions of the Next Generation Science Standards.

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Sustainable Southwest Beef

Asombro leads K-12 education efforts for this collaborative research project focused on novel strategies for sustainable beef production in the southwest.

After an introduction to traits and several types of cows, students visit six hands-on stations to gather data to compare a lost cow’s traits to the traits of other cattle types. They analyze and interpret these data to help a rancher reunite the lost cow with her herd.

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Students are introduced to “virtual fencing,” a tool studied by scientists in the Sustainable Southwest Beef Project. After conducting hands-on tests of models of traditional and virtual fences, students evaluate the potential of virtual fences to help ranchers save time, money, and protect the environment.

Educator’s Guide    Student Worksheet    Lesson Video

This competitive game encourages players to think broadly, innovatively, and creatively. This is a game of divergent and innovative thinking, with a bit of luck. The game will be updated regularly by Asombro educators.

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Students learn about heritage livestock as they play the roles of Angus and Raramuri Criollo cattle grazing on a rangeland under abundant and then limited forage conditions caused by climate change.

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Students will evaluate one of three solutions that hold promise for creating more sustainable beef production in the southwest and present that solution.

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Mini Data Jam - Middle and High School Data Challenge

Challenge your science, math, and creative skills! In this Mini Data Jam, we explain how to find trends in real scientific data and then turn your data trends into songs, models, crafts, and more to communicate your findings to others.

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Students Using LandPKS to Share Data, Information, and Knowledge - Three Lesson Module for 5th - 8th Grade

Students participate in hands-on activities that introduce them to soil indicators. Working in groups, learners collect data on soil properties, land cover, and other characteristics of one or more sites in the schoolyard or local area. They then use the data they collected to generate Land Capability Classifications (LCCs) using the LandPKS app. Finally, students apply their new knowledge of LCCs to design a possible solution to a land management dilemma. The concepts and activities are also relevant for older students and adults.

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Glimpse of the Chihuahuan Desert - Materials for 4th - 5th grade

This 4th and 5th grade, English and Spanish language activity guide was developed by the Asombro Institute for Science Education. The seven hands-on activities are designed to accompany the bilingual book Glimpse of the Chihuahuan Desert by retired teacher and Asombro volunteer Patricia Mihok.

Every activity includes a teacher’s guide (with background information in both English and Spanish), Spanish student worksheets, English student worksheets, and answer keys with sample data. Activities are aligned with Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core State Standards. Asombro can loans kits of supplies to local teachers who would like to implement the activities with their classes. Please contact the Asombro office for more information.

Resources for Educators

Need more information about science topics? Asombro has compiled a list of our favorite resources that include current research organized by subject. Find data, interactives, articles, and more. This list will be updated frequently, so check back soon!

EPA Climate Indicators

This EPA website links to data on many of the changes we are seeing linked to climate change. Indicators fall into six categories: Greenhouse Gases, Weather and Climate, Oceans, Snow and Ice, Health and Society, and Ecosystems.
New York Times: The Science of Climate Change Explained: Facts, Evidence, and Proof, Definitive answers to the big questions.Click Here for Article

New York Times: There’s a New Definition of ‘Normal’ for Weather

Every ten years, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calculates new 30-year averages climate averages for temperature, rain, snow, and more. The data is used by meterologists among others. 

 Click Here for Article

 Yellowstone National Park is hotter than ever, scientists say

This article summarizes a study from Geophysical Research Letters, discussing how scientists used tree ring data to show that Yellowstone National Park is warming and how this could have detrimental effects on the ecosystem.

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 National Ocean and Atmospheric Association

Includes easy-to-use data snapshots, teaching resources by grade level, professional development opportunities, and general climate change information.

NASA: Global Climate Change

Climate time machine that shows temperature, sea level, carbon dioxide emissions and sea ice data through time, as well as climate change photos and other data.

Skeptical Science

Presents a broad picture of global climate change, providing scientific evidence to challenge common arguments of climate change skeptics.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Website for the United Nations climate change science assessment organization. Includes worldwide reports with data and analysis.

NASA Methane Source Finder

Scientists are using remote sensing from airplanes to pinpoint and measure methane sources. You can use this interactive map to see methane emissions in the Permian Basin of New Mexico and Texas.

Use this link to learn more about efforts to track methane emissions:

How Data Can Help Fight Climate Change

Explains how data and data science are used to understand climate patterns and design and evaluate solutions.

STEM with Cog

Climate science videos created by a New Mexico educator. Videos cover topics like carbon sources and sinks and have accompanying worksheets and activities. 

STEM with Cog

US Drought Monitor

Maps, animations, and data showing current drought severity across the U.S. Maps updated weekly.

Energy Information Association

Find current U.S. data on energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, projected trends in energy consumption, and more.

New York Times Interactive

Interactive about How Each State Generates Electricity (and how this has changed over time)

Published October 28, 2020

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Stem with Cog

Video series about how energy is generated

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United States Geological Survey

Find data on water use in the United States. Searchable by location, water use category, and water source.

Confronting the Wildfire Crisis

A 10-year strategy published by the US Forest Service aimed at managing forests to protect communities from wildfire.