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The Living Edens
My Life As An Insect In Namib

Instructional Objectives
Background Material
Procedure
Evaluation/Alternative Assessment
Web Resources


Instructional Objectives:

Students will:

  1. Identify the harsh characteristics of the Namib Desert
  2. Determine the adaptations an insect in Namib Desert must have to survive
  3. Draw an insect found in the Namib Desert and identify the adaptations

Background Material:

Several insects with special adaptations are shown in the program, The Living Edens "Namib." Each of these insects have special adaptations which makes them well suited to life in this harsh environment. There is a seashore,desert and mountain environment shown in the film. View the harsh desert, mountain, and seashore environment prior to doing the activity. (If you missed The Living Edens "Namib"program that aired on July 16, 1997 you can order the video).

The teacher should view in advance the The Living Edens "Namib" program and note the different insects in the film. Also note the different adaptations presented in the program and achieve the objectives above based on the information presented in the film. Some of the adaptations to talk about in class discussion from the film are the abilities to:

  • Manage extreme temperatures
  • Collect/find moisture
  • Have colors that protect
  • Hide through camouflage
  • Move quickly
  • Dig and bury to escape predators
  • Sense movement

(All of these characteristics can be seen in the The Living Edens "Namib" program)

Life in the Namib desert requires certain adaptations that make continued existence possible in the harsh surroundings. Creatures in this environment must be able to survive with little water or an ability to store water, be able to escape the intense heat through some adaptation and be able to find a source of energy. (Personal communication, Kim Sneden, Director of Education Interview, Detroit Zoological Institute, June 14, 1997)

Target Grade Level:

Middle level students, grades 6-8

Materials Needed:

  • A copy of the PBS program, The Living Edens "Namib"
  • Drawing paper/colored pencils and/or crayons/markers
  • Science Journals
  • Computer with access to the World Wide Web, (optional)
  • Insect books/field guides for students to review kinds of insects

Procedure:

  1. Students will view the PBS program The Living Edens "Namib," and record the kinds of insects found in the Namib desert. After viewing the program, students work in groups of 3-4.
  2. Discuss in groups, the desert biome in the Namib
  3. The teacher presents the concept of animal adaptations and what adaptations the insects of Namib might have to exist in the harsh desert.
  4. Students return to their groups to discuss the adaptations observed during the program and record this information in their science journals.
  5. Each student is asked to draw one of the insects found in the Namib Program. Use insect books/field guides for general samples of insects to make the drawings more realistic

Evaluation/Alternative Assessment:

Students will record information from the Namib Program in the Science Journals. This information will be used to assist students in the class discussion. Drawings of the insects can be displayed in the school hallways or classrooms. Students can also present their drawings to the class and explain the adaptations that are necessary for survival.

Elementary Extensions:

Elementary students can capture insects in their local environment. Compare and contrast those found in Namib with those caught locally. Students may draw the insects that they find in the local area. Students can also present the captured insect for class discussion.

Caution: Depending on local environment, some insects can be dangerous. Please be alert to these dangers and decide if collection of species is appropriate in your area. Bee stings and other bites can cause serious injury.

High School Extensions:

High School students may consider inviting an entomologist from a local university to speak to the class about insects and the insect adaptations of the Namib Desert.

A field trip to a local museum (where available) to view the insect collections is also a valuable experience.

An additional activity is to identify the scientific name of the insects in the Namib Program and research the behavior and physiology of the insects of the desert.

Web Resources

http://info.ex.ac.uk/~gjlramel/six.html

http://www.isis.vt.edu/~fanjun/text/Links.html

http://ag.arizona.edu/tree/eukaryotes/animals/arthropoda/arthropoda.html

http://www.orst.edu/dept/infonet/picpag/bensol.htm

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