A biome is a large, naturally occurring area defined by its flora and fauna, or the plants and animals that inhabit the region. Biomes can have other distinct characteristics, such as climate or terrain. The taiga, also called the boreal forest, is one type of biome categorized by coniferous trees and cold climate. Creating a 3-D model of a biome, often called a diorama, is a common assignment that allows you to discover what features make each biome distinctive.
All About the Taiga
Before you make your model, you must research which plants and animals call the taiga home, and what other features, such as landforms, weather patterns and climate, make the biome different from others. From this research, list at least five plants and animals you could add to your model. Your teacher might have specific rules about how many elements of the taiga you should include in your diorama, and you might have to list in which countries you can find the taiga, what the climate is like, or the impact of human activity in the biome. Find out why certain plants and animals thrive in the taiga. For example, coniferous trees survive because they don’t drop their leaves, so they don’t need the energy to grow new ones, and the dark color helps them absorb energy from the sun.
Start Planning Your Model
Plan for your taiga model by creating lists or short descriptions of what you want to depict. Since the climate is cold, and the taiga’s weather patterns feature long winters and short summers, you might want to show a snowy scene. The taiga has relatively less diversity in plant life than other biomes, but you can re-create pine, spruce and fir trees. Because of the cold, only animals with adaptations such as thick coats of fur, including bears, wolves and squirrels, can live there. The ground of the taiga is dotted with lakes and marshes, so you might add a lake to your model. These lists and descriptions will help you decide what materials you need to gather.
Gather Your Supplies
You will need a shoebox and assortment of art supplies for your 3-D model. Collect items from nature to make your model more realistic. If you live in an area with pine trees, gather some needles or pinecones. Pebbles and dirt are also ideal supplies, because the soil of the taiga is thin and rocky. You might use paint, construction paper, plastic animal figures, clay or cotton balls. Refer to your lists to get an idea of what you will use for each element of the model.
Re-Creating the Biome
To begin your model, take the lid off the shoebox. Set the lid aside or use it as a base for the box. Paint the inside of the box or use construction paper to create a background of the sky. Add a cloud with construction paper snow falling from it. Put the dirt and rocks at the bottom of the box to represent the ground. Add bits of cotton balls to represent snow, and create a lake with construction paper or cellophane. Use construction paper or clay to make a few coniferous trees. Attach pine needles with glue, and use pieces of pinecone to make tree trunks. Use a hot glue gun to attach these trees to your shoebox. Add plastic animal figures or animals made from construction paper. Build your 3-D model from back to front, starting with the background and adding elements such as flora and fauna later. Check your lists to ensure you represented all the characteristics of the taiga you wanted in your model.
About the Author
Cara Batema is a musician, teacher and writer who specializes in early childhood, special needs and psychology. Since 2010, Batema has been an active writer in the fields of education, parenting, science and health. She holds a bachelor's degree in music therapy and creative writing.