Life in the Frozen Tundra

A lesson and worksheet on life in the frozen tundra.



• Students will be able to describe the climate and characteristics of the tundra biome.

• Students will be able to define “permafrost.”

• Students will be able to state where the tundra is located.

• Students will be able to explain why it is so cold on the tundra.

• Students will be able to name plants and animals that are native to the tundra and explain how they are adapted to survive there.


Suggested Grades:

4th Grade - 5th Grade - 6th Grade

Lesson Procedure:

Print the reading comprehension worksheet passage and questions (see below).

Students should read the passage silently, then answer the questions. Teachers may also use the text as part of a classroom lesson plan.


Lesson Excerpt:

Far to the north, between the taiga biome and the polar ice caps, is the arctic tundra. There are two types of tundra " arctic tundra and alpine tundra. The arctic tundra is located in the very northern parts of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Europe and Asia. There is also Antarctica tundra far to the south in Antarctica. Alpine tundra exists at the highest altitudes on earth, not necessarily the areas farthest north (or south). For example, high in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado in the United States is an area of alpine tundra known as the Indian Peaks region.

In the tundra, the ground just below the surface is frozen all year long. This layer of permanently frozen soil is known as permafrost. The reason the tundra is so cold all the time is that it is so far north that the sun’s rays are always at a very low angle to its surface. Heat from the sun passes over the surface layer of soil on the tundra, but it does not go deep enough to melt the ground below the surface. Water cannot flow downward through this frozen layer of soil. There isn’t much precipitation in the tundra " only about four to ten inches a year, mostly in the form of snow.



Lesson Printables:

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