This activity will help students learn about Utah's environments, temperature, elevation and rainfall.
Main Curriculum Tie:
Science - 4th Grade
Standard 5 Objective 2
Describe the common plants and animals found in Utah environments and how these organisms have adapted to the environment in which they live.
For each group:
- Atlas of Utah, editor, Wayne L. Wahlquist, (Weber State College,
BYU Press); ISBN 0-852-1831-1.
This is an older book found in the reference sections of libraries,
but it has excellent maps with a variety of Utah information.
Background For Teachers:
Fourth grade students not only need to learn about Utah’s
environments, temperature, elevation and rainfall, they also need to create
relationships between these concepts. This activity requires students to
use map reading skills and to make connections between elevation,
climate, and temperature. They will then communicate this information to
classmates. Not only will students be discussing science concepts, but
also math skills of reading temperature and rainfall figures that are
applied in practical ways.
This activity uses the jigsaw model. Each group or team will take a
set of questions, become the expert in that area, and then present their
findings to the rest of the class. In this manner, all students learn
information, but each group has different questions to answer. The maps
used for the activity contain the following information:
Map A: Temperature
Map B: Elevation
Map C: Rainfall (Precipitation)
Map D: Environment
Many questions can be discussed with students. Consider how
different factors might affect the development of different environments
(e.g., more rainfall supports more plant and animal life). Would climate
also affect where particular animals and plants can live? (Yes, animals
depend on food sources that are specific to certain climate conditions.)
Students should begin to see relationships between temperature, rainfall,
environments, and elevations. They will also see trends that develop
because most of Utah is a high basin desert, which creates conditions for
specific trends in these areas.
Intended Learning Outcomes:
1. Use Science Process and Thinking Skills
2. Manifest Scientific Attitudes and Interests
Invitation to Learn
Ask students to solve the following riddle:
I can be as long as 450 miles or fit in the palm of your hand.
I can be blue, green, white, or sometimes bright pink.
I can be detailed and fascinating to some, or very boring to others.
I can be confusing or keep someone from getting lost.
What am I?
A map of Utah!
- Review the maps of Utah. Tell students this activity will
help them practice applying some of the information they have
learned about Utah, and make decisions from reading a variety of
Utah maps. Utah Question Cards should already be cut.
- Organize groups of three to four students. Have each group select
one of the Utah Question Cards. Tell students they are going to
use the jigsaw model and study the relationships between climate,
elevation, temperature, and environments. Each group will study
their questions and determine answers from the information found
on the maps of Utah.
- Have each group study and organize their information to present
to the whole class.
- After each group has had an opportunity to investigate, take turns
sharing their discoveries with the class. Allow groups to present
their findings. (You may find it useful to have overhead copies of
the larger maps available for students to use.)
- Have students write a paragraph about the four maps in their
science journals. Use questions such as the following for
- What is the relationship between elevation and temperature in
- What is the relationship between rainfall and environments in
- Do these characteristics affect the plants and animals in the
- Write two conclusions you can draw from your investigation.
A social studies connection to this activity is one that helps students
practice using grids on maps. It also ties into Mathematics Standard III,
Objective 2: Specify locations and describe spatial relationships using
grids and maps.
After a discussion of how a grid can help you find places on a map,
or if you are learning about grids during math, transfer the skill to the
Utah map. Show students a grid on an overhead, and then place the grid
over the Utah map (also on an overhead). Have students practice
identifying and pointing to grid locations. They can also locate the grid
square of specific Utah locations and tell what part of the state it is
located in. Practice with cities, as well as counties or landforms. They
should state the specific locations and then tell the compass rose
Place the grid over one of the maps from the preceding activity. Ask:
- Which grid squares contain wetlands? Forests?
- Which grid squares are only desert?
- What is the average temperature in C5? D1?
- What is the typical rainfall in A3?
- The next time your family takes a trip anywhere in the state,
practice using a map to plan out the trip. Perhaps the student can
be the co-pilot for the family driver and use skills learned in
school to help with travel.
- Notice maps used in a variety of places in the coming months.
Newspapers, weather people on television, bus routes, and the
Trax route all have maps.
- Create a treasure map for family members to follow to locate a
special place or treat.
- Participation in the map discussion is a good assessment.
- Students should answer the questions on the Utah Question Cards correctly and respond appropriately in their science journals.
Created Date :
Oct 25 2004 15:41 PM