How to use this site

Welcome to the Digital Desert Library. The DDL offers you a collection of activities to do with your students, complete teacher notes for each activity, and the support and resources you'll need to implement the activities. It also provides an interactive student area where your students can write, draw , and contribute to the gallery of student creations. Both teachers and students have access to a large database of plants, animals, and terrain in the desert regions of Earth. This database can also be used with lesson plans and projects you or your students create.

How do I find all the wonderful stuff available?

Each page has a large heading identifying it. Just choose a topic from the main page and click! The main page allows you to choose Teacher topics or things just for kids. Choosing Just for Kids takes you to a menu of kids' webquests, a student gallery, and a collection of sites for kids to explore and use in their activities. In Just for Teachers, you'll find the activities, accompanying Teacher notes, resources, and expert help. Each of these topics comes with directions and links to other helpful hints.

How do I print the pages I want?

Make sure the page you want is active by clicking on it. Select page set up and choose the landscape setting. Close the page set up window and Then, choose print from the top menu bar of your browser. Make sure the printer is on and click on the Print button.

What are WebQuests?

WebQuests are web-based learning environments that allow students to do research and presentations of their findings using resources on and off the Internet. By following the given procedures for each task, students visit related web sites, read reference materials, collect, organize and present information. The traditional methods of completing assignments is extended to include electronic representation of data. Students can access video clips, sound bytes, biographies and images not typically available to them. WebQuests take students beyond the walls of the classroom to gather information.

What is a Desert Database?

A Desert Database is a categorized list of plant, animals, and nonliving substances found in the desert. The unique search abilities allow students to type in the name, the type, or the category of an item to access the information about it. Students can use the database to find specific and general data on a specific plant or animal. For example, the coyote is a member of the canidae family. Searching for coyotes by common name or by family name will give you information on the coyotes habitat, eating habits, natural enemies, its size and description, and even the types of tracks it leaves. The database is a reference library right at your fingertips!

Where can I send questions or comments about the Digital Desert Library?

You can e-mail Dr. Carmen Gonzales of New Mexico State University's College of Education at or Dr. Jeanne Gleason of the College of Agriculture at or Dr. Karin Wiburg of the College of Education at You can also follow a number of links contained in the activities and other pages of the DDL to find partners of this project and their addresses. If you don't have e-mail capabilities, send a letter to:

The Digital Desert Library c/o Dr. Carmen Gonzales
Department of Curriculum and Instruction
New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, NM 88003-8001