Deserts of the World


The lesson introduces students to several named deserts found throughout the world as an extension of a lower grade lesson which covered the general characteristics of deserts.  The information allows students to “travel” to the Sahara, Arabian, Kalahari, Mojave and other deserts of the world.  Students will learn their locations and some characteristics of each.  The lesson may be used in conjunction with lessons related to biomes as well.

Deserts of the World Lesson Plan Includes:

  • Full Teacher Guidelines with Creative Teaching Ideas
  • Instructional Content Pages about Deserts of the World
  • Hands-on homework activities
  • Answer Keys
  • Common Core State Standards
  • Many Additional Links and Resources
  • Built for Grades 4-6 but can be adapted for other grade levels.

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The lesson introduces students to several named deserts found throughout the world as an extension of a lower grade lesson which covered the general characteristics of deserts. The introduction to the lesson describes the four types of deserts. Then several major deserts in the world are described, including the Sahara and the Sonoran Deserts. Several photographs are included. The lesson may be used in conjunction with other lessons related to biomes.

Sample Classroom Procedure / Teacher Instruction: 

  1. Ask students to share every word or image they can think of when they hear the word desert.
  2. Allow for responses and display a list, placing words in various categories: animals, plants, observations, etc. Ask students if they believe all deserts are the same, and why or why not.
  3. Allow for responses and discussion. Introduce Deserts of the World to the class.
  4. Distribute Deserts of the World content pages. Read and review the information with the students.  Save the final question for the lesson closing.  Use the additional resources to enhance understanding.
  5. Distribute Activity pages. Read and review the instructions.  Pair students.  Allow Internet access if necessary.  Students may use additional pages if needed and may write out the journal on scratch paper before the final copy.  Encourage students to be creative, to think about water, fun during the trip, other people they may see, etc.  Allow sufficient time for completion of the journal.
  6. Once completed, students may share their journals with another pair of students; and, allow students to share one or two days of journal entries with the entire class during a class discussion.
  7. Distribute Practice page. Check and review the students’ responses.  Ask students to correct the false statements.
  8. Distribute the Homework page. The next day, check and review the students’ responses.
  9. In closing, ask students: Which deserts of the world would you most and least like to visit? Why?

Common Core State Standards: 

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.4.3, 7, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.5.3, 7, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6.3, 7

Class Sessions (45 minutes): At least 2 class sessions

Additional Resources:

Want more social studies resources? Check out our other Social Studies Lesson Plans!

Additional information

Grade Level

4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade


Social Studies

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Michelle L.

Informative and Helpful

My students loved the module on deserts!

Jolene K.

Love this curriculum!

My class used the democracy curriculum. It was practical, informative, and interesting. I highly recommend it.