I do a lot of lessons coinciding with the first grade study of habitats. I usually do ocean, arctic, and rainforest environments. This year I decided to add in a desert lesson. It took about six classes to complete but they came out really great. The book Cactus Hotel by Brenda Guiberson is a great resource as well.
Part one: The students and I talked about the attributes of a desert habitat environment and what types of animals live there. We discussed what a cactus is and I showed them images of some Saguaro Cacti.
We also discussed the concept of close up and far away. The goal for the day was for the students to draw one large close up cactus and one small cactus far away as well as a horizon/land line.
Part two: The students colored in the cactus using a variety of green-hued crayons. They then outlined the cacti in dark green oil pastel.
Part three: Glue sand along the bottom land area of the picture and watercolor the sky. (I used liquid watercolor.)
Part four: Animals! I discovered that there are TWO animals in the desert that have black and white stripe patterns (and we all automatically think of zebras and white tigers to have black and white stripes, ha!).
Students made :
Gila Woodpeckers-- They drew the woodpeckers on brown construction paper, colored the striped wings with black and white oil pastels, and put a red spot on the head with oil pastel. Then they cut them out.
Zebra-tailed Lizards-- They drew the lizards on manilla paper, used rubbing crayons and texture tiles for for the lizard skin and colored the tails with black and white stripes using oil pastels. Then they cut them out.
Part five: We arranged our elements and glued them together!