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Educational Resources

Lesson Plan Guides: Coast to Cactus in Southern California

The following lesson plan guides have been developed in conjunction with the Coast to Cactus in Southern California exhibition and aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). To take a deep dive into the plants and animals that call this region home, don't miss the Explore the Region website developed to accompany this exhibition.

Animal Bingo English / Spanish (PDF)
Comparing Animals English / Spanish (PDF)

What do animals need to live? How are animals different from one area of San Diego to another (example: beach vs. canyons)? Contains coloring sheets.

Grade 1
Awesome Adaptations English / Spanish (PDF)
Superhero Suit English / Spanish (PDF)

What kind of adaptations help animals survive? Create your own adaptations on enclosed worksheet. What kind of adaptations do desert plants have? Take inspiration from them to draw your own "superhero suit."

Grade 2
Pollinators English / Spanish (PDF)
Beaks and Bills English / Spanish (PDF)

How are insects and flowering plants dependent on one another? Group pollination activity can be done as a family. Why do birds that live in estuaries have beaks and bills of different shapes? Contains a worksheet and activity ideas.

Grade 3
Plant Comparisons English / Spanish (PDF)
Desert Plants English / Spanish (PDF)

How do leaf shapes help plants survive weather conditions? Contains a worksheet. How can a cactus survive with so little water? Create a paper towel plant model to learn more.

Grade 4
Snake Sense English / Spanish (PDF)
Wildfires English / Spanish (PDF)

Why does a snake stick out its tongue? Try an interactive scent activity. How can humans prevent mudslides after wildfire? Use engineering design skills to create a model mudslide.

    Grade 5
    Habitat Fragmentation English / Spanish (PDF)
    Non-Native Species English / Spanish (PDF)

    How do buildings and roads affect wildlife habitats? Create an animal habitat and discover what happens as land is developed. Why are non-native species bad? Try your hand at a non-native bullfrog invasion game.

    Grade 6
    Flower Pollination English / Spanish (PDF)
    Measuring Rainfall English / Spanish (PDF)

    What adaptations make flowers attract certain pollinators? Design your own pollinator-friendly flower. How much rainfall does Southern California get? This rainfall calculation activity incorporates graphing and averages.

    Grade 7
    Change Over Time English / Spanish (PDF)
    Wildfire Frequency English / Spanish (PDF)

    How does human development impact habitats? Write your own habitat adventure. How many wildfires do we have each year? Create a wildfire timeline rope to discover patterns and make predictions.

    Grade 8
    Endangered Species English / Spanish (PDF)
    Population Growth English / Spanish (PDF)

    How can we help endangered and threatened species? This research project helps us understand. How will human population growth affect natural habitats in and around San Diego? Predict change over time by analyzing population growth.

    Exhibition Map
    English / Spanish (PDF)

    Graphic Novel

    A tale of life, death, and mind control: the Zombie apocolpyse of the insect world. This graphic novel was designed by the museum's Exhibits Department in conjunction with Coast to Cactus in Southern California.

    English / Spanish (eBook)

    Funding for the Coast to Cactus Lesson Plan Guides generously provided by the  Donald C. & Elizabeth M. Dickinson Foundation and The Carol and Henry F. Hunte Fund at The San Diego Foundation.