[Ocean Oasis - Teacher's Guide]  Imágen Satelital de la Península de Baja California y el golfo de California See Spanish version
geography icon [Activity 2]
[What's an Oasis?]

How would you describe an oasis?

In the Film

There are many underwater scenes portraying a profusion of life around the islands and reefs of the Gulf of California. Such places that provide an abundance of resources and shelter are often referred to as oases. In a broader context, an oasis can be more than a physical place, and in the film the area is described as an oasis for the heart.


An oasis is a place of abundance and shelter.


To explore the concept of an oasis


Science, history/social studies, language arts


Traditionally, an oasis is a wet, green area in the desert. It is a fertile habitat for plants and animals—a place of abundance. In a broader sense, an oasis is a refuge, a pleasant place—a contrast to the surrounding area. It is a place that offers quiet and solitude while providing one's basic needs. As a source of food and water, oases have played a role in the development of civilizations. Today, through irrigation, deserts are sometimes converted into farmlands—a kind of man-made oasis.

On the Web

See Earth and Sun: The Forces that Create an Ocean Oasis," an essay by the San Diego Natural History Museum's director of the Biodiversity Research Center of the Californias.


Paper, pencils, art supplies, reference materials


(individuals, small groups)

  • Discuss the basic needs of plants and animals and the functions of a habitat.
  • Discuss the concept of an oasis.
  • Draw a picture, write a story, or create a play set in an oasis.
  • Research and write a report about an oasis such as Isfahan, Palmyra, Faya-Largeau, El Menia, or any oasis such as those associated with one of the following rivers: Nile, Indus, Tigris, Euphrates, Rio Grande, or Colorado.
  • Describe human activities that might create an oasis. What would be the advantages or disadvantages of deliberately creating an oasis? What human activities might destroy an oasis?

Sketch of a palm oasis Local Connection
Write a description of your own personal oasis—your special retreat or place of refuge. It might be a park in an urban setting, a tree in a field, or even your room. Tell why it is special and which of your needs it satisfies.

Key Words

Continue to Activity 3: Plate Boundaries

Teacher's Guide Contents
Field Guide | Site Index | Ocean Oasis: The Film

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