image is of a desert.

Sounds of Biomes

This simple activity connects the sounds encountered in different biomes with the sounds made by both biotic (living) and abiotic (non-living) features.

As we drove West from Central Texas over spring break to the Chihuahuan desert of West Texas and Mexico, not only did it strike me that the view changed drastically over the course of several hours, but that the sounds did as well. After a day in the desert, I was struck by the significantly decreased sound due to the limited species of animals, including birds and insects, found in the desert.  

As I returned after the break to continue instruction on biomes, I shared with my students these observations. I described the change in vegetation and living creatures as we traveled.  This prompted the idea to use sounds from these biomes for instructional purposes.  This proved quite simple to do utilizing YouTube videos. 

Key terms:



The only preparation for this activity is to pull up YouTube videos with sounds of the biomes.  


  1. After instruction on several of the biomes, have students enter class to the sounds of a tropical rainforest on YouTube. Ask the students to think about the sounds they hear and discuss them as a class. (numerous varieties of birds, rain, thunder, insects, etc.)
  2. Give students an informal assessment by having them write down which biome they think this is, giving them choices if necessary. 
  3. This process can be repeated as a warm-up with a different biome each day or as a longer activity in one day.
  4. Biomes to include:
    • grassland
    • desert
    • rainforest
    • taiga
    • deciduous forest
  5. After all have guessed, students with low vision who may benefit from the visuals can take a look at the screen and as they do so, the instructor should describe it for the class. 


NGSS Standards:

Grade 3 – Interdependent relationships in ecosystems

LS2.C: Ecosystem Dynamics, Functioning, and Resilience

LS2.D: Social Interactions and Group Behavior

LS4.C: Adaptation

LS4.D: Biodiversity and Humans

By Laura Hospitál

collage of sounds of biomes

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