Sunday, July 17, 2016

Animal and Plant Adaptation Activities

Read and learn about different ideas to incorporate in your classroom about animal and plant adaptations!

I love LOVE to teach about animal and plant adaptations, and I have lots of engaging ideas for you to try out in your classroom!!  With all the great ideas on Pinterest, it's always hard to teach adaptations and not go a little crazy with all the activities.  I probably spend a little TOO much time teaching the content, but the kids enjoy it and so do I.

It's probably because I'm an animal lover. Ever since I was a little girl, I've been crazy about animals and basically drew some sort of creature on every paper I turned in for homework.  Animals are so unique, and it's mind boggling to learn about all the amazing things they can do, especially when it comes to their adaptations.

In order to get my students to really understand plant and animal adaptations, I like to start with a Depth and Complexity frame.  I actually designed this activity for a formal observation I had with my principal!  As mentioned in my last post, ANY student can use a frame, and I truly believe it aids in student comprehension as well as verbal communication skills.
Use an Depth and Complexity Frame to teach students about plant and animal adaptations!
Adaptation Depth and Complexity Frame
1.  Read an article or chapter in your science textbook about animal and plant adaptations.  If students are able to write on the information, have them notate and highlight/underline information they find important.
2.  Discuss the top portion of the frame which is asking students to identify the two types of adaptations. Students also must give examples of each using language structures.
3.  As mentioned in my last post, students work in table groups to each share a detail about these adaptations using an All Write Round Robin.  Students also use text evidence to answer the question.
4.  Move on to the next portion of the frame (language of the discipline).  This is my very favorite part!  Students work with a partner, where one acts as a predator and the other as its prey.  Students use multiple perspectives to discuss how they feel about their partner's adaptations.  Then, they have to write from their partner's perspective.  Later on, students act this out in front of the class!
5.  Students now move on independently to ask any unanswered questions they still have.
6.  Lastly, for those early finishers, students create their very own animal and must include the adaptations it would possess.  Students love this part because they get to illustrate their very own organism.

You can find this Adaptations Depth and Complexity Frame by clicking the link below:

This is the cover to my Adaptations Packet on sale in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.

7.  Take it a step further, and log on to where students can build their human self, and then add their favorite animal parts.  The kids loved this site!

Build a wilder version of yourself complexity with your very own adaptations!
Build Yourself Wild
One of the most fun adaptations to learn about, in my opinion, is camouflage!  Students love to learn about it too!  I found an article ("Camouflaged Creatures" from online about animals using camouflage as a method of defense and offense.  Since we had been working on using the Details, Language of the Discipline, Patterns, and Big Idea Depth and Complexity icons, I had students focus on those areas as they closely read the article.  Then, I handed students a blank piece of computer paper and asked them to decorate it any way they wished.  The only caveat was, they had to include information from the article using the icons mentioned above.  Here are some examples:

This student also printed out a picture to add to her assignment.Students looked for details, specific language of a disciplinarian, patterns, and the big idea of the article "Camouflaged Creatures."

Neither one of these students were GATE students, and they still did a great job!

Thanks to Pinterest, I found this highly entertaining butterfly camouflage activity!  It was so much fun!  I found the template on Pinterest, but the website noted is  We kept these butterflies up for Open House, and then had the students take their families around on a scavenger hunt to see how many butterflies they could find.
Students hid butterflies around our classroom, so they would be camouflaged.

She had a nice idea to hide the butterfly on the behavior chart!

Some students really challenged themselves to make their butterfly blend in perfectly even if it took them a lot of time!

I like the way this butterfly blended in so easily!

Some students didn't even notice this camouflaged butterfly!
Something fun and hilarious we did was act out our science vocabulary, so kids could experience what it might be like to camouflage or use mimicry.  We were all laughing hysterically!

Students looked around to find a place to hide or camouflage in our classroom.

I love the way this student blended in with our emergency backpack pretending to be an animal.

More students are trying to hide from animals!

He decided he would try to mimic the floor!
These students had the bright idea to stand against the blue wall in order to camouflage better with their surroundings.

For homework, the kids created their own picture in which they hid camouflaged organisms.  We then performed a Mix-Pair-Share, so students could share their hidden pictures with their peers.

Students got to create their own camouflage creatures and scene for homework and share with classmates.

Here are some beautiful camouflaged scenes.

A class favorite by far was the bird beak activity which was another Pinterest idea.
Students had to use different utensils to act as bird beaks as they tried to pick up food.

Soon, I'll post about how I incorporated adaptations into a creative fictional narrative piece and dioramas!  What's your favorite thing to do when teaching adaptations?
Find out about different engaging activities and assignments used to teach animal and plant adaptations!

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