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TERC, Science Education Resource Center at Carleton College (SERC)


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Types

  • Interactive Media
  • Worksheets
  • Lesson Plans
  • Charts, Graphs, and Tables
  • Assessments
  • Presentation Slides

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PDF, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Powerpoint

Climate Patterns and Biomes Lab

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  • This interactive digital lab introduces students to the concept of biomes and the way in which climate plays a vital role by characterizing them.
  • Students learn to examine maps of climate patterns and biomes around the world, then investigate the ways in which climate, topography, and biomes are related.
Teaching Tips


  • This lab provides many opportunities to assess student understanding and learning. 
  • Students have the opportunity to pursue their own interests by choosing a biome to research. 
  • Students can familiarize themselves with using digital maps to investigate patterns in climate on a global scale.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should be comfortable with reading maps and graphs, and following multi-step directions.
  • In part B of this lab, there is a non-Google Earth option if needed. The link to download a Google Earth file (kmz format) is available. The alternative option is provided in the form of screenshots on a PowerPoint slideshow.
  • Teachers should familiarize themselves with the different layers on Google Earth using the downloadable file before teaching this lesson. Students may need extra assistance if they have never used Google Earth before.


  • Additional information for teachers and downloadable worksheets and files for this unit are available here
  • A suggested wrap-up activity for part A is to play "Name that Biome" with students using the Whittaker graphic. Call out the temperature and the precipitation and have students shout out the name of that particular biome using the graphic, or they can point to pictures of the type of biome, which are available in the "additional resources" section.
  • This lab is best suited to be taught in 3-4 class periods, where part A requires 100 minutes and part B requires 50 minutes.
  • Related resources include this interactive map of biomes in Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique, historical climate maps for the State of New Jersey, and this lab about extreme weather and climate modeling. 
Scientist Notes

This resource introduces students to understand the relationship between climate and biomes. The spatial distribution of biomes is determined by climate and it is important for students to explore the changes and distribution. There are no scientific misconceptions in the resource and is recommended for teaching.

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