Sounds of Biomes

As we drove West from Central Texas over spring break to the Chihuahuan desert of West Texas and Mexico, not only did it strike me that the view changed drastically over the course of several hours, but that the sounds did as well. After a day in the desert, I was struck by the significantly decreased sound due to the limited species of animals, including birds and insects, found in the desert.  
 
As I returned after the break to continue instruction on biomes, I shared with my students these observations. I described the change in vegetation and living creatures as we traveled.  This prompted the idea to use sounds from these biomes for instructional purposes.  This proved quite simple to do utilizing YouTube videos. 

Key terms:

  • biome
  • rainforest
  • desert
  • grassland
  • taiga
  • tundra
  • deciduous forest
  • evergreen forest

Preparation: 

The only preparation for this activity is to pull up YouTube videos with sounds of the biomes.  

Materials: 

  • A computer with Internet intalled, equiped with speakers or a tablet with internet.  

Procedure: 

  1. After instruction on several of the biomes, have students enter class to the sounds of a tropical rainforest on YouTube. Ask the students to think about the sounds they hear and discuss them as a class. (numerous varieties of birds, rain, thunder, insects, etc.)
  2. Give students an informal assessment by having them write down which biome they think this is, giving them choices if necessary. 
  3. This process can be repeated as a warm-up with a different biome each day or as a longer activity in one day.
  4. Biomes to include:
    • grassland
    • desert
    • rainforest
    • taiga
    • deciduous forest
  5. After all have guessed, students with low vision who may benefit from the visuals can take a look at the screen and as they do so, the instructor should describe it for the class. 

Variations: 

  • Alternatively, play the sounds from at least 2 biomes and have students think about and guess which is which after giving them choices or have the students work as teams. 
  • For a student learning this content in a general education science class, this idea could be shared with the general education science teacher or used in one-on-one pull out time with the student to supplement instruction on this content. 

NGSS Standards: 

Grade 3 - Interdependent relationships in ecosystems

LS2.C: Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience

When the environment changes in ways that affect a place’physical characteristics, temperature, or availability of resources, some organisms survive and reproduce, others move to new locations, yet others move into the transformed environment, and some die. (secondary to 3-LS4-4)

LS2.D: Social Interactions and Group Behavior

Being part of a group helps animals obtain food, defend themselves, and cope with changes. Groups may serve different functions and vary dramatically in size. (Note: Moved from K–2) (3-LS2-1)

LS4.C: Adaptation

For any particular environment, some kinds of organisms survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all. (3-LS4-3)

LS4.D: Biodiversity and Humans

Populations live in a variety of habitats, and change in those habitats affects the organisms living there. (3-LS4-4)

Collage of Sounds of Biomes