Water Conservation in the Desert

In this activity, the student will compare the water loss between two sponges left outside for a period of four hours in order to simulate adaptations to manage water loss.

By completing this lesson, your students will be able to:

  • Record observations into a notebook.
  • Develop and use an ethogram.
  • Analyze why an animal may exhibit certain behaviors more than others.

More About this Lesson Plan

Wildlife Science @ Home is a collection of wildlife-related science experiments that can be carried out at home (or anywhere) using common household materials. The activities are appropriate for students of all ages. They address Science and Engineering Practices and Crosscutting Concepts that can be applied across all grade levels. However, content for individual activities will better address standards at specific grade levels.

In this activity, the student will compare the water loss between two sponges left outside for a period of four hours. The student will use common household materials to add “adaptations” to one of these sponges. The other will have no modifications and will serve as a control. The purpose of this activity is to use models and simulations to learn about adaptations that animals have to conserve water in the harsh, arid desert environment.


  • Eric Proctor, Wildlife Education Coordinator,
    Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD)
  • Other AZGFD staff

Standards Correlation

This lesson has been correlated to the following Arizona Department of Education academic standards:

  • Kindergarten

    1. K.L1U1.6
    2. K.L1U1.7
  • 3rd Grade

    1. 3.L1U1.5
  • 4th Grade

    1. 4.L4U1.11
  • 5th Grade

    1. 5.L3U1.10
  • 8th Grade

    1. 8.L4U1.11
  • High School

    1. HS.L4U1.27

Education through AZGFD

See resources for teachers, including lesson plans. Learn about hunter education, and classes to earn bonus points.

teacher resources

The goal of the AZGFD education program is to promote awareness, appreciation and stewardship of the state’s wildlife resources by using wildlife as a context for learning.

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hunter education for bonus points

Classroom and online instruction, and field days for hunter education. Online “Ethically Hunting Arizona” class allows hunters to earn a lifetime bonus point.

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