Large animals like elephants, lions, and giraffes live in the harsh, arid Namib Desert. How do these animals survive? The secret is the desert’s geography.
Watch this video from the Nat Geo WILD program “Destination Wild.” Then consult the tabs for some critical thinking questions, a list of fast facts to enhance viewing comprehension, links to related materials, and a short glossary of vocabulary used in the video.
You can use National Geography Standard 7.1 to better understand how Earth’s physical systems contribute to the “Secret of Survival” in the Namib Desert.
4th Grade: There are four components of Earth's physical systems (the atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere). Therefore, the student is able to identify attributes of Earth's different physical systems, as exemplified by being able to identify different attributes of physical systems in photographs (e.g., sky, clouds, plants, soil, oceans, lakes, mountains).
- Questions 1-2 explore attributes of physical systems in the Namib Desert.
8th Grade: The four components of Earth’s physical systems (the atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere) are interdependent. Therefore, the student is able to identify and describe patterns in the environment that result from the interaction of Earth’s physical processes, as exemplified by being able to identify and describe the patterns that result from the connections between climate and vegetation (e.g., examples of patterns of ecosystems and biomes).
- Question 3 explores how climate impacts life in the Namib Desert.
12th Grade: The interactions of Earth's physical systems (the atmosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and lithosphere) vary across space and time. Therefore, the student is able to explain how the effects of physical processes vary across regions of the world and over time, as exemplified by being able to analyze and explain the relationships between physical processes and the location of land features (e.g., river valleys, canyons, deltas, glaciated lakes and moraines, limestone deposits, caves, alluvial fans, canyons).
- Question 4 explores how Earth’s physical systems have changed the landscape of the Namib Desert over time.
Here are a few animals shown living in and around the Namib Desert:
- caracals (big cats with tufted ears similar to a lynx)
- rock hyraxes
Here are some plants shown living in and around the Namib Desert:
- algae (not technically a plant!)
(singular: alga) diverse group of aquatic organisms, the largest of which are seaweeds.
layers of gases surrounding a planet or other celestial body.
something belonging or characteristic of a person, thing, or group.
part of the Earth where life exists.
deep, narrow valley with steep sides.
all weather conditions for a given location over a period of time.
visible mass of tiny water droplets or ice crystals in Earth's atmosphere.
steady, predictable flow of fluid within a larger body of that fluid.
area of land that receives no more than 25 centimeters (10 inches) of precipitation a year.
body of water that flows only after a fall of precipitation.
to wear away.
study of places and the relationships between people and their environments.
deep, narrow valley with steep sides, usually smaller than a canyon.
confrontational or unfriendly.
all the Earth's water in the ground, on the surface, and in the air.
characteristic to or of a specific place.
the geographic features of a region.
outer, solid portion of the Earth. Also called the geosphere.
to move from one place or activity to another.
clouds at ground-level, but with greater visibility than fog.
landmass that forms as tectonic plates interact with each other.
characteristic of a geographic region that was not created by humans.
large body of salt water that covers most of the Earth.
part of an environment or community chosen for study or analysis.
large stream of flowing fresh water.
natural substance composed of solid mineral matter.
small, loose grains of disintegrated rocks.
mound of sand created by the wind.
solid material transported and deposited by water, ice, and wind.
top layer of the Earth's surface where plants can grow.
native, geographic area in which an organism can be found. Range also refers to the geographic distribution of a particular species.
severe weather indicating a disturbed state of the atmosphere resulting from uplifted air.
rise and fall of the ocean's waters, caused by the gravitational pull of the moon and sun.
winds that blow toward the Equator, from northeast to southwest in the Northern Hemisphere and from southeast to northwest in the Southern Hemisphere.
to move material from one place to another.
huge and spread out.