Lesson Plan

Plant Adaptations

Rough mules ear (Wyethia scabra)
Desert plants put up with tough growing conditions.

NPS photo by Neal Herbert

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Grade Level:
Fifth Grade
Biology: Plants
National/State Standards:
Utah Science Core Curriculum Topic, Standard Five: Students will understand that traits are passed from parent organisms to their offspring, and that offspring may possess variations of these traits that may help or hinder survival in a given environment.
genetics, inherited traits, variation, mutation, plant keys, desert adaptations


Students explore genetics by comparing desert plant adaptations, riparian plant adaptations, and a few desert plants and animals adapted to nighttime activities. Their field activities include: rough observation and data collection, a clue trail, plant keys, a story, and a smelling game. In classroom activities, students take on the identity of a desert plant or animal, and later create an imaginary plant with adaptations for survival in its imaginary environment.