Biomes, Science, Uncategorized

World Biomes #7: Mountains and Alpine Tundra, by Cheryl

Previously: The Deciduous or Temperate Forest

My inspiration for this study was our trip to the mountains last summer. We spent days hiking and driving through the mountains. The kids wanted to know what everything was. I spent a great deal of time in the mountains growing up, but I did not remember all of the animals and plants. I wanted my kids to recognize some things the next time we headed out in nature. We loved studying the mountains exactly one year after our first trip. It was the perfect excuse to pull out all those vacation photos!

My original plan was to study the alpine tundra along with the arctic tundra, but as we started our study of the mountains, it was obvious that alpine tundra was better paired with this study. Most of our books covered both mountains and alpine tundra.

First Reports: Mountains by Susan H. Gray had great information on different types of mountains and their wildlife. This series has been one of our favorites throughout the study. It has just the right amount of information for my six and eight year olds.

The Usborne Book of Wild Places by Angela Wilkes had great vocabulary words for the mountains. It also had a good list of plants and animals that live and grow in the mountains. (There are sections on Jungles and Deserts as well. We did not own this book at the time we studied those biomes, so we will go back and read the sections later as a review.) We all really enjoyed this book.

About Habitats: Mountains by Cathryn Sill had beautiful drawings of the mountains and some helpful basic information. This is another series that we have truly enjoyed throughout our study.

Habitats: Mountains by David Cummings is a great resource for older students. We skimmed through the book rather than read the whole thing because it was too much for my six year old. I do like this series as well – great photographs!

Mountain Animals

The mountains around the world are home to some fascinating creatures like the nutcracker, the Alaskan brown bear, peeper tree frogs, mountain goats, big horn sheep, ibexes, pikas, marmots (we love marmots; we watched them pop in and out of the rocks on the tundra), llamas (Peru), Yak (Himalayas), timber wolves, pumas, snowshoe hares, porcupines, golden eagles, and Lilly’s favorite – the snow leopards.

Mountain Plants

Blue poppy and edelweiss are examples of short plants that grow in the alpine tundra. Mountain plants must have very long roots to reach through all the rocks.


Crust, Mantle, Outer Core, Inner Core, Magma, Alpine Tundra, Erode, Range, Tree Line, Timberline, Snow Line, Pass, Avalanche, Volcano, Glacier, Machu Picchu, Tsunami

Fun Facts

The tallest mountain in the world is Mt. Everest. There are 850 active volcanoes around the world.

Fun and Easy Activities

My parents gave Aidan a Smithsonian volcano project for Christmas this year. I have held off putting it together until we were studying volcanoes. Our mountain study included a look at volcanoes and how they form. This was the perfect time to pull out this simple project! We were able to complete it in one day. We had to wait a few hours for the plaster to dry. The kit came with everything we needed except vinegar, food coloring, and baking soda.

The base is string and plaster tape held up by the eruption tube.

Painting the volcano was a fun and messy project!

I think they did a great job! We needed a little more paint than the model included.

Matthew was fascinated by the erupting volcano!


If you are putting together a lapbook with us, here are your pieces!

Cover, Map, Animals – find or draw your own pictures of mountain animals, Pocket, Mountain Features, Layers of the Earth

Next time: Arctic Tundra and Polar Deserts!


Cheryl–Cheryl is a singing, dancing, baking, homeschooling mom of three. She has danced her whole life and taught ballet and theatre for most of her adult life. Her favorite pastime has always been cooking and baking, and as a Pampered Chef Independent Consultant she gets to share that love with others. Home educating her three children has been and continues to be one of her greatest learning experiences! It is an adventure she is ready to continue.


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