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"My Book about Biomes" Project
This is a fun DIY booklet project on biomes for Earth Scence students in grades 5-8. It's 100% free to print, and includes a printable grading rubric (scroll down).
This blank workbook is fifteen pages in length (the back page is empty). Click here to print the workbook.
Students begin by defining what a biome is, as well as defining terrestrial biomes and aquatic biomes. Students then divide a list of eleven biomes into a chart with columns for terrestrial or aquatic.
Then, as seen in the illustration to the left, the real work begins. For each of the eleven biomes, students must describe the climate, list three animals and three plants that live in this type of biome, draw an illustration of the biome, and locate and label on a world map two locations where this kind of biome is found.
Biomes covered: coral reef, deciduous forest, desert, grassland, large lake, oceanic island, river delta, taiga (coniferous forest), temperate, tropical rainforest, and tundra.
Finally, a short essay question is posed: "How can changes in environmental conditions affect the survival of a species?"
Last of all, students are told: "Research an animal or a plant that is currently endangered, or that already became extinct, due to changing environmental conditions. Tell the animal or plant’s story here." The possibilities for this are endless, from prehistoric dinosaurs and megalodons, to current endangered species such as the panda. Click here for the World Wildlife Fund's list of endangered species.
How to grade this and be fair? A good old grading rubric!
We recommend giving each student a copy of the rubric before work begins so that students (and parents) will know exactly what is expected of them, and that each item counts.
Experience also tells us that students should be offered a few extra credit points for neat work, as well as told that such-and-such number of points will be deducted for sloppy or late work.
Rubrics can be cumbersome for a booklet project like this. We broke it down point by point. There are 165 points possible. Points earned divided by points possible equals the percentage grade.
Each page and item is covered in chronological order. The teacher simply jots down on this sheet as the booklet is graded. There is space at the bottom of the first side to tally up that side's points. On the second side, there's space to jot down the tally from the first side, before figuring the grand total.
Easy as pie! Rubrics truly are the only effective talisman to ward off projects, covered in glitter and plastic covers, that are devoid of content.
Click here to print this rubric. If you'd like to modify the rubric (for example, to add point values for cited sources), here's the grading rubric template as a Word document: Biomes Booklet Grading Rubric Template.