One Day in the Desert - Elementary Science Series

Part One: Introduction to the Chihuahuan Desert

This video is Part 1 of 3 of a guided reading of the children’s book, One Day in the Desert written by Anna Keener and illustrated by Christina Wald. In Part 1, we meet Mariana, a young girl from Las Cruces, New Mexico. She has pen pals from different ecosystems and will write back to them about the desert ecosystem where she lives. This video introduces viewers to the Chihuahuan Desert and includes directions for a fun evaporation investigation to do at home.

This activity is aligned with the following NGSS Dimensions.  

Science and Engineering Practices: Asking Questions and Defining Problems; Planning and Carrying Out Investigations; and Analyzing and Interpreting Data

Crosscutting Concepts: Patterns; Cause and Effect; and Stability and Change

Disciplinary Core Ideas: Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience; and Biodiversity and Humans

Analyzing Temperature and Precipitation Data Activity

In the book One Day in the Desert, Pen Pals Mariana, Kupe, and Ellie, live in three very different ecosystems. Examine precipitation and temperature graphs from the locations where the Pen Pals live and answer some questions.

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This activity is aligned with the following Science and Engineering Practices.

Analyzing and Interpreting Data; Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions; Engaging in Argument from Evidence; and Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information.

 

Part Two: Nature Park Adventures

This video is Part 2 of 3 of a guided reading of the children’s book, One Day in the Desert by Anna Keener. In Part 2, Mariana and her classmates arrive at the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Park for a field trip and immediately find evidence of plants and animals. This video introduces viewers to some of the interesting animals and land features of the Chihuahuan Desert. Viewers also learn how the land has changed over time and are encouraged to do a scavenger hunt in their own backyard or neighborhood.

This activity is aligned with the following NGSS Dimensions.  

Science and Engineering Practices: Planning and Carrying Out Investigations; and Analyzing and Interpreting Data

Crosscutting Concepts: Stability and Change

Disciplinary Core Ideas: Structure and Function; Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience; Biodiversity and Humans; and The History of Planet Earth

Model A Desert Food Web Activity

Use photos of organisms from wildlife game cameras at the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Park to create a model of a desert food web.

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This activity is aligned with the following Science and Engineering Practices.

Developing and Using Models; and Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions.

Part Three: Playas and Criollo

This video is Part 3 of 3 of a guided reading of the children’s book, One Day in the Desert by Anna Keener. Mariana and her classmates continue exploring the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Park. Viewers learn about temporary lakes called playas and unique adaptations of desert animals that help them survive where water is scarce.  A cattle rancher answers questions about the desert-adapted Raramuri Criollo cattle and viewers are encouraged to write postcards to family or friends describing what they have learned.

This activity is aligned with the following NGSS Dimensions.  

Science and Engineering Practices: Planning and Carrying Out Investigations; and Analyzing and Interpreting Data

Crosscutting Concepts: Stability and Change

Disciplinary Core Ideas: Structure and Function; Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience; Biodiversity and Humans; and Earth Materials and Systems

Message From The Author

Anna Keener, author of One Day in the Desert, wants to encourage people to go outside and learn about their backyard, neighborhood, and beyond. In this video, she shows viewers how to start their own science journal just like Mariana’s! Watch and get ready to explore!