3rd grade - Adaptations for Survival

Suggested Grade Level: 3rd
Maximum Group Size Per Day: 60 students (plus chaperones)
Download Adaptions for Survival lesson plan (pdf, 73kb)
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Download Program Evaluation Form (pdf, 17kb)
Students and a ranger take a close look at the forest floor.

NPS photo


Living things use adaptations to respond to life needs for survival. These adaptations may be behavioral or physical in nature. Students will investigate adaptations of plants and animals living in Shenandoah National Park using observation, cooperation, discovery, and participation skills. As human and environmental impacts are evaluated, stewardship behaviors that support a healthy environment will be explored and practiced.


Following the park experience and classroom activities, the students will be able to

  1. define physical and behavioral adaptations and list two examples of each;

  2. describe how animals (and plants) use adaptations, instincts, and learned behaviors to get food, find shelter, and provide protection;

  3. explain how natural and human influences on a habitat can impact an organism’s ability to use adaptations to survive;

  4. determine how Shenandoah National Park protects cultural and natural resources and tell how people can contribute to the health of the environment.

Virginia Science Standards of Learning Addressed:

Strand: Life Processes

3.4 - The student will investigate and understand that behavioral and physical adaptations allow animals to respond to life needs. Key concepts include

a) methods of gathering and storing food, finding shelter, defending themselves, and rearing young; and

b) hibernation, migration, camouflage, mimicry, instinct, and learned behavior.

Strand: Resources

3.10 - The student will investigate and understand that natural events and human influences can affect the survival of species. Key concepts include

a) the interdependency of plants and animals;

b) the effects of human activity on the quality of air, water, and habitat;

c) the effects of fire, flood, disease, and erosion on organisms; and

d) conservation and resource renewal.

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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Mailing Address:

Shenandoah National Park
3655 U.S. Highway 211 East

Luray, VA 22835


(540) 999-3500

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