Kindergarten - A Taste of the Sonoran Desert

Grade Level: Kindergarten
Lesson Developer: Jordan Leigh Jones
Lesson Plan Title: A Taste of the Sonoran Desert
Concept/Topic To Teach: Edible Sonoran Desert Vegetation

Standards Addressed:
Science - Strand 1: Inquiry Process

Concept 1: Observation, Questions, and Hypotheses

PO 1. Observe common objects using multiple senses

PO 2. Ask questions based on experiences with objects, organisms, and events in the environment

PO 3. Predict results of an investigation based on life, physical, and earth sciences

Science - Strand 1: Inquiry Process

Concept 2: Scientific Testing

PO 1. Demonstrate safe behavior and appropriate procedures in all science inquiry

PO 2. Participate in guided investigations in life science

Science - Strand 1: Inquiry Process

Concept 4: Communication

PO 1. Communicate observations with pictures and words

Science - Strand 4: Life Science

Concept 1: Characteristics of Organisms

PO 2. Naming body parts

Science - Strand 4: Life Science

Concept 2: Life Cycles

PO 1. Describe that most plants will grow to physically resemble their parents

Science - Strand 4: Life Science

Concept 3: Organisms and Environments

PO 1. Identify some plants that exist in the local environment

PO 2. Identify that plants need the following to grow and survive: water, food, air and space

Science - Strand 5: Physical Science

Concept 1: Properties of Objects and Materials

PO 1. Identify the following observable properties of objects using the senses: shape, size, texture

PO 2. Compare objects by the following observable properties: size, color, type of material

General Goal(s):
Students will learn about the plants of the Sonoran Desert, including those which are edible.

Specific Objectives:
Students will be able to visually identify plants commonly found in the Sonoran Desert.

Required Materials:
foods derived from Sonoran Desert plants, computers with internet access, Sonoran Desert Explorers website, printed and labeled images of Sonoran Desert plants, rubber stamp with ink pad, tickets to Desert Botanical Garden, transportation to Desert Botanical Garden, adult chaperones, permission slips

Anticipatory Set (Lead-In):
The teacher will bring in a number of foods that are derived from plants of the Sonoran Desert. These food items may include: prickly pear candy, prickly pear jam, prickly pear syrup, prickly pear ice cream, hot mesquite milk, mesquite flour cookies, mesquite flour pancakes, mesquite honey, desert blossom honey, agave nectar, pickled tender cactus, as well as others. The students will taste some of the food items. The teacher will explain that we live in the Sonoran Desert and that all of these food items came from plants that grown in the Sonoran Desert.

Step-By-Step Procedures:
  1. Students will create Sonoran Desert Passports using labeled images of plants printed from the internet. Plants in passports should align with plants in the Vegetation section of the Sonoran Desert Explorers website. Find more information here:
  2. The teacher will project the Sonoran Desert Explorers website on the wall for all of the students to see. She will go through each page in the Vegetation section. First she will say the name of the plant out loud. Then she will point to the picture(s) on the page and ask the students to find the plant in their passports. The teacher should play the introduction video from each page or tell the class a few facts about each plant.
Plan For Independent Practice:
Each student will be assigned one plant from their passports. The student will complete the Kindergarten Activity that can be found in the plant’s page on the Sonoran Desert Explorers website.

Closure (Reflect Anticipatory Set):
The class will go for a nature walk around the school and the surrounding neighborhood or park. Each student should identify 2-3 plants mentioned in the lesson that they saw during the walk.

Assessment Based On Objectives:
Students will use their Sonoran Desert Passports during a field trip to the Desert Botanical Garden. They will receive stamps for correctly identifying each of the plants in their passports. It is recommended that the students take the two-hour “Magic of Desert Plants” guided tour. Find more information here:

Adaptations (For Students With Learning Disabilities):
This lesson should not be difficult for students with learning disabilities, however they may need more guidance during the field trip.

Extensions (For Gifted Students):
Gifted Students will be given pages including plant labels, but not images, from which they will create their passports. Then they will use the Sonoran Desert Explorers website to accurately draw the plants onto the pages of their passports.

Possible Connections To Other Subjects:
This lesson includes elements of social studies, health/nutrition and art.