Beacon Lesson Plan Library
What's Your Adaptation?
Orange County Schools
Students gather information about the physical traits an animal has which help it survive in its environment. Using collected data, students draw illustrations with adaptation features labeled.
The student understands that living organisms need to be adapted to their environment to survive.
-Animal fact cards
-Animal picture cards
-Nonfiction library books
-Markers and/or crayons
-Copy of Animal Adaptations Rubric (See Associated File)
-Pics4Learning (See Weblinks)
-Sample drawing of whale with physical adaptations labeled and three or more complete sentences describing how the adaptations help the animal survive in its environment. (See Procedures, step #5)
1. Gather materials for activity.
2. Set up computer for access to Pics4Learning. (See Weblinks)
3. Draw a picture of a whale and label the physical traits used for adaptations.
4. Write three or more sentences describing the adaptations of the whale.
5. Check out library books.
6. Have reference materials available.
7. Make a copy of the Animal Adaptations Rubric for each child. (See Associated File)
Note: Formative assessment occurs throughout the instructional lesson. The teacher rotates around the room, facilitating learning and asking questions to spark creative thinking. (For example: What physical traits does a whale have that helps it to swim under water for extended periods of time?)
1. Show students pictures of animals.
2. Review with students what they learned in first grade regarding animals and the environments they live in. Do this by making a KWL chart. (Assume they have learned the characteristics of different environments and can name the animals that live in each. If, after completing the KWL chart, it doesn’t appear they have this prior knowledge, you may want to teach a lesson on that topic prior to teaching about the adaptations.)
3. Ask the students why an animal would need certain physical characteristics in order to survive in its environment.
4. Next, ask them if all animals would need the same physical traits or if they would vary by animal, by environment, or not at all.
5. Explain to students the physical traits that a whale has that help it to adapt to and survive in the ocean. (For example: Whales live in the ocean. They have a blowhole that closes up when they are underwater to prevent water from entering their lungs. When they come to the top of the water, they open the blowhole, blow out the carbon dioxide and take in new air before going back underwater.) This is just one example of a physical trait that a whale has for survival in the ocean. Others would include a dorsal fin, a pectoral fin, and a tail fin.
6. Tell the students that they will be selecting an animal and researching it in the materials available to them in the classroom (i.e. encyclopedia, computer, library books and fact cards). During their research they should determine and make a note of what physical traits the animal posseses that help it survive in its environment.
7. Show students your sample drawing of the whale with its physical adaptations labeled. Also, read with them the three or more complete sentences you have written that describe how the adaptations help the whale survive in its environment.
8. Tell the students that they need to do the same thing on the animal of their choice. Go over the Animal Adaptations Rubric with them at this point. (See Associated File)
9. Encourage the students to gather reference materials from the reference area or on the Internet to help them in creating their illustration.
10. Distribute drawing paper.
11. Students then begin working on their illustrations. Rotate around the room and ask the students higher-order questions such as: What does a whale have that helps it to swim under water for extended periods of time?
12. Remind students to label the physical adaptations on their animal and write at least 3 complete sentences describing those adaptations.
13. After all/most students have completed their projects, bring the class back together to share. As students share, ask them if they see any similarities and differences among the animals that were selected by their classmates.
14. Add new information to the “L” on your KWL chart.
Note: Formative assessment occurs throughout the instructional lesson. The teacher rotates around the room, facilitating learning and asking questions to spark creative thinking. (For example: What does a whale have that helps it to swim under water for extended periods of time?)
Evidence: The student creates an illustration of an animal in its environment that shows the particular characteristics of that animal which help it to survive in the environment. Each adaptation needs to be labeled. They also write at least three complete sentences to accompany the illustration, which describe how the adaptation(s) help the animal survive in its environment. (For example: Whales live in the ocean. They have a blowhole that closes up when they are underwater to prevent water from entering their lungs. When they come to the top of the water, they open the blowhole, blow out the carbon dioxide and take in new air before going back underwater. Therefore, in the illustration, the blowhole would need to be drawn clearly and labeled.)
Criteria: See Animal Adaptations Rubric in Associated File.
For students who are not artistically inclined, pictures can be downloaded and printed from the Website listed below. (See Weblinks) Then the students can add the labels and the sentences for the adaptations.
Download pictures of animalsPics4Learning