Would You Survive in an Extreme Habitat?

News Literacy Summer Learning Challenge

Saguaro cactusExtreme habitats are regions of the earth that are either very cold or very hot. For animals and plants living in these habitats, the best survival strategy appears to be becoming very large (over 50 kg) or very small (under 15 kg). Why do you think this is?

Focus Questions

  1. How can being large help an animal stay warmer in cold weather and cooler in hot weather?
  2. How can being small allow an animal to make use of soil and tree holes as habitats or microhabitats?

Think About It

  1. Some cactus can hold up to 200 gallons of water and live up to 200 years in harsh climates such as the desert. Which cactus are we referring to?
  2. Caves are dark places where the temperature remains cool all year round. But there is an extreme cave where you can be pretty hot, somewhat around 112 degrees Fahrenheit (44 C). What’s the hottest cave? Why is this cave so hot?
  3. Islands are known to be habitats for rare animal species, including the world’s largest moth, orchid, and carnivorous plan. What is the island that we are referring to?

Suggested Books

A Strange Place to Call Home

Over in the Arctic

About Habitats: Deserts

Robert R. McCormick Foundation logoNews Literacy Summer Learning Challenges 2014 are made possible by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation through the Chicago Public Library Foundation.