Saving Our Earth One Habitat at a Time: The Desert 2017

Dear Parents,

We explored a habitat quite the opposite of the rainforest today…the desert! It is a hot, dry habitat with fascinating creatures living in it. We learned that a desert is a habitat with extreme heat, little water, sand, gravel, and little plant life. We read Cactus Hotel by Brenda Guiberson to show us what animals live the desert. Desert creatures must adapt to be able to survive in such extreme weather.

Prickly plants grow in the desert! These plants are called succulents. Our creature feature this week wasn’t our typical creature. It was the saguaro cactus. A saguaro is a protected plant that grows only in the Sonoran Desert, which is located in the southwest part of the United States. Many animals make the saguaro their home. It is a habitat to many animals. The saguaro has also adapted to live in the desert.

A succulent is designed to survive without much water. A cactus is nocturnal! Therefore, it’s pores only open at night. It does this to not risk losing too much water in the heat of the sun. Cacti have developed succulent tissue, waxy skin, prickly spines, and a specialized root system to take every advantage in their harsh habitat. We explored the cactus and it’s absorption in the Science Lab today!

We traveled to the desert today for Exploration Time!

Science Experiment:  Each student filled a rectangular baby food container halfway with sand. Then they added a small rock and a desert animal to their desert. A storm blew in and the students made it rain in their desert with an eyedropper. The cactus soaked up the rain. Our cacti were medicine syringes. A cactus fills itself with water until it bulges. It saves the water to use when it needs it. Absorption!

Projects: Our work today was painting a cactus. We used a toothpick to remove the paint to make spines. We added beautiful tissue paper blooms!

A desert snake was a choice today. We cut a spiral from a paper plate and painted it with bubble wrap. Google eyes and a red tongue completed our project.

Math and Science Table: Loose Parts took on a desert theme today. We engineered with cardboard tubes and pieces, Truvia containers, small blocks, spools, pipe cleaners, corks, brown felt, snakes, squishy mice, and green stones. We also provided a mirror. It made a great oasis!

Table Play: The desert Littlest Pet Shop animals played in the Sonoran Desert today. We added the dark brown rug, a structure for a habitat, some natural rocks, and a small plastic tree. There are few trees in the desert!

 We built amazing pyramids with the Legos!

Sensory Play: We played in a desert in our kinetic sand. We added our desert animals, rocks, and small containers for creating dunes and animal habitats.

Dramatic Play: We had a Desert Wildlife Refuge for Dramatic Play today. We cared for desert animals that needed rescuing. There was an exam table, medical tools and jackets, colored window blocks (for cage building), desert beanies (birds, lizards, snakes, rabbits, spiders and bats). We also added animal crates, blankets, and our small baby bottles. We took very special care of the desert animals today!

 Light Table: We played in the Wild, Wild West in a bin of black-eyed peas, Lincoln Logs, tree cookies, blue stones, tiny horses, and our Wild West people with the “fort” structure.

Floor Play: We built the pyramids today with our wooden blocks. We added our landforms, the light brown rug, yogurt cups and rectangular baby food containers, the plastic lizards and snakes, speckled rocks, and our Egyptian toys!

Snack: We made a cactus from pretzel sticks and a green dollop of frosting on top of a graham cracker. We added mini M&M’s as the cacti’s blooms. Remember, these blooms last only one day!

Stories:

Desert by Justin McCory Martin

Cactus Hotel by Brenda Z. Guiberson

Way Out in the Desert by T.J. Marsh and Jennifer Ward

We have explored two habitats with protected creatures! We are going to have some fun with recycling! Who can save the earth? You can! One small step at a time!

Reduce, reuse, and recycle!

Jodi and Coleen