Introduction: (Initial Observation)
In physical geography, tundra is an area where tree growth is hindered by low temperatures and short growing seasons. The term “tundra” comes from the Sami language (through Russian), meaning treeless plain.
There are three types of tundra: arctic tundra, antarctic tundra, and alpine tundra. In all of these types, the dominant vegetation is grasses, mosses, and lichens.
Trees grow in some of the tundra. The ecotone (or ecological boundary region) between the tundra and the forest is known as the tree-line or timberline.
In this project you will make a model of tundra. Making models assist you to learn some facts about tundra and share it with other students.
gather information about different biomes and focus on learning about tundra. Read books, magazines or ask professionals who might know in order to learn about the animal and plant life in a tundra. You may use books, encyclopedias and online resources. Keep track of where you got your information from.
Following are samples of information you may find:
Scientists have developed the term Biome to describe areas on the earth with similar climate, plants, and animals.
Biomes are classified in various ways. This page will group biomes into six major types:
Biomes have changed and moved many times during the history of life on Earth. More recently, human activities have drastically altered these communities. Thus, conservation and preservation of biomes should be a major concern to all.
Hopefully, this page will increase your general knowledge of biomes.
The tundra can be found in the high northern latitudes of the world. Some plants and shrubs bloom in early autumn. During this short period of time, the blooms are brilliant. The growing season in the tundra is very short due to the frozen permafrost that only begins to thaw in mid-summer. Some prehistoric animals have been found preserved in the thick permafrost. The most common animals found in the tundra are the caribou, reindeer, and the lemming.
The tundra is the coldest and the driest of all the biomes on Earth. This biome lies above the Arctic Ocean in the world’s highest northern latitudes. The tundra covers about one fifth of the land surface found on Earth. These low swampy plains are found in Northern Europe, Siberia, Northern most part of North America, and a few places in the southern hemisphere.
All locations reach low temperatures that can freeze on any night, even in the tropical locations. The summers in the tundra are short. The tundra experiences 24 hour long days. In the summer the soil becomes very soggy because of the melted permafrost. In the winter the weather can reach -50 degrees Fahrenheit. The precipitation received in this biome is less than ten inches a year. There is very little evaporation. This causes the moisture to be absorbed into the ground which is called permafrost. The permafrost lies six inches below the ground. The permafrost prevents drainage of excess moisture. Trees and plants have a hard time growing in these conditions. The growing season is short and can last up to 60 days.
Vegetation or plants are in abundance in the tundra. Some of the major ones are the lichen which grows on rocks and is made of fungus and algae living and growing together. Other types are the dwarf willow that are small tundra shrubs and the cushion plants that grow in low, tight clumps to protect them from the cold.
Plants in the tundra biome have many adaptations such as being small and able to grow close to the ground to protect from the cold and harsh temperatures. Also they absorb more heat from the sunshine than they get from other plants.
Many of the animals in the tundra biome are mostly vegetarians. This helps the animals to get more food with there being so many plants.
The mountain regions in Chile form a type of tundra. For an unknown reason the people who live here have unusually long lives. People have attributed this to the height of the elevation and the purity of the oxygen. The armed forces send their troops there for extensive training.
The animals of the tundra are found in various cold regions throughout the world, such as the high mountains of western Mexico. Since the weather in the tundras is cold and dry, the animals of the biome have special adaptations so that they can live in their areas and provide for their needs.
The arctic fox is a canine carnivore who lives in the arctic regions of Europe, Asia, and North America. The arctic fox can grow up to 46-68 cm long (18-26 3/4 in.) with a tail of 35 cm long (13 3/4 in). The arctic fox is one of six of the tundra animals that eat birds, lemmings, marine life, and any leftover animals. This mammal has well furred paws, small rounded ears, and white fur. Every May or June they have a litter of 4-11 puppies.
The grey wolf is another canine carnivore, but he lives in eastern Europe, east India, Russia, Canada, and some of the northern United States. They also live in the high mountains of the western population of Mexico. The grey wolf has a body size of 1-1.4 m (3 1/4-4 1/2 ft.) and a tail that is 30-48 cm long (11 3/4-18 3/4 in). Due to their large size, the grey wolf hunts and feeds on the larger animals that inhabit the tundra. Like the arctic fox, the grey wolf has a litter of 3-8 puppies in May or June.
The musk ox and the caribou live in Northern Canada, Greenland, Northern Europe and Asia, Scandinavia, Siberia, and Alaska. Both the caribou and the musk ox are herbivores that belong to the deer family. Both eat plants like grass, low shrubs, and lichen. The caribou can grow up to 1.2-2.2 m with a tail of 10-21 cm. The musk ox grows up to 1.9-2.3 m, their tails 9-10 cm. The musk ox has long shaggy hair that keeps them warm in the subzero temperature. The caribou has short hair that can either be black, brown, gray, or off-white.
The caribou migrate many hundreds of miles in between their breeding. When they do breed, the females produce one to two young. However, the musk ox only has one young at a time.
Another animal in the tundra would be the polar bear. They belong to the group of mammals called the carnivore. They love to eat fresh meat, such as salmon, seals, and birds. They will also eat berries and eggs. They can smell their food even when it is 20 miles away. After eating 90 pounds of food a day, they can still be hungry. Polar bears have distinct white fur that helps them blend into their snowy surroundings.
Other animals in tundra include snowy owl,
What do you want to find out? Write a statement that describes what you want to do. Use your observations and questions to write the statement.
The purpose of this project is gathering information about tundra and construct a model of tundra. Making a display model of tundra is a learning tool as well as a teaching tool that may be shared with other students.
Constructing a model of tundra is a display or demonstration project. You will not need to define variables or propose a hypothesis for this project.
Using materials found at home or available in your local art/craft stores make a model to display the tundra environment including plants and animals.
Get a tray or a heavy corrugated cardboard that is at least 30cm x 45 cm or larger for your base board. That is almost equal to 12″ x 18″. The larger the better. Instead of cardboard you may also use foam board that is usually sold in craft stores. You will construct your model in this board, so it should be rigid and as light as possible.
The landscape of a tundra has natural up and downs. Shrink some newspaper pages and tape them to the base board. Use larger pieces for higher elevations and smaller pieces or nothing for lower elevations. These newspapers will shape the underground of a tundra.
Cover the newspapers with a soft cotton cloth. Glue the edges of the cloth to the base board and use small pins to hold them in place until the glue dries. This cotton cloth will be the surface of the ground in a tundra biome, so you must decorate it to look like it.
Dilute some white glue so you can apply it by a brush. Mix some green color with that and apply it to the surface of the cloth. It is ok for the color to run into the fabric. This will give it a more natural look. To give it some accent, also apply some black, light brown, white and yellow in a random, natural distribution. (This is an art work. Use your creativity to make it as nice as possible). while the glue/paint mixture is still wet, you can also sprinkle some short fibers or dry vegetables on the surface. To make short fibers you can use scissors to cut some green fabric or yarn. As dry vegetables you may use dill weeds. Finally use a hair dryer to dry the surface or leave it in a warm room to dry naturally.
Place samples of tundra animals on your tundra landscape.
Make a small description card and install it on the front side of your model. First line will read “Tundra Model” or “Model of Tundra”. Bellow that write your name, your school name, your teacher’s name and date. Take pictures of your model.
Materials and Equipment:
Following materials may be used in constructing a model of tundra.
- Plastic tray or heavy cardboard as the base for your model
- White glue or wood glue
- Green fiber
- Plastic animal models (polar bear, fox, wolf, caribou, polar bear)
- Small Paint brus
Results of your model making activity:
Write a report about what you have learned about a tundra.
Related Questions & Answers:
Try to answer these questions using what you have learned about tundra biome.
- Why is the tundra climate very cold and dry?
- What are some of the adaptations animals have to survive the very cold winters?
- What do tundra animals eat?
Following are some related information about tundra:
Tundra Biome Get to know the tundra biome with this resource that supplies information on the climate and life of the tundra region.
Blueplanetbiomes.org – World Biomes Read about major biomes of the world. Includes tundras, grasslands, deciduous forest, savanna, and rainforest.
Human-Environmental Impacts In the Tundra Biome Review an essay that discusses the impact of human activity upon tundra ecosystems and Arctic cultures.
CyberZoo, Zoo, Biome, Education, Living SchoolBook, Animals, THE CYBERZOO Animal List Your Key to the Biomes Select the Biome You Wish To Explore What is a Biome? Fresh Water Tundra Deserts Grasslands Tropical Rain Forest Coniferous Forest Marine Temperate Deciduous Forests
Blue Planet Biomes – World Biomes All about the world’s biomes, their plants, animals, and climates. A biome is a large geographical area of distinctive plant and animal groups which are adapted to that particular environment. … type of biome can exist in that region. Major biomes include deserts, forests, grasslands, tundra, and several types of …
Earth Floor: Biomes … Biomes | Biome Summary | How to Read a Climograph | Arctic Tundra | Deciduous Forest | Desert | Taiga | Tropical …