Last updated: January 9, 2018
Biodiversity Curriculum: Flipping for Adaptations
- Grade Level:
- Middle School: Sixth Grade through Eighth Grade
- Lesson Duration:
- 60 Minutes
- Common Core Standards:
- 6-8.RST.7, 6-8.RST.1, 8.RI.6, 6-8.WHST.1, 6.SP.2, 6.SP.4, 6-8.WHST.2, 6-8.RST.2, 6-8.WHST.9
- Additional Standards:
- MS-LS1-4, MS-LS1-5
Students will show what they have learned by drawing and writing about their “flipped” animal to encourage creativity and thoughtful response in how these adaptations help their animals survive in their unique environments. As an extension, students can do further research on specific animals and their adaptations by making “What Am I?” cards to play in class.
Animals develop different adaptations through time that promote the survival of individuals or species. Populations can change in response to changes in the environment. Adaptations can be grouped into two large categories: structural and behavioral (“Adaptation”, 2014). Structural adaptations involve a genetic change in the physical features of the body; for example, birds have evolved different types of beaks to eat different kinds of food; mammals have different sizes/shapes of ears adapted to the temperatures in their environment. Structural changes require a longer period of time, usually several generations, in order for animals to evolve new characteristics that assist with survival. Behavioral adaptations affect the way an organism interacts with its environment to survive. Such adaptations can occur more quickly, depending upon the intelligence of the animal. Behavioral adaptations can be dependent on social interactions and the organism’s ability to manipulate the environment; for example, animals may change behavior, depending on whether they are nocturnal or diurnal; some animals live in social groups and some live independently.
What allows one animal or species to survive over another?
What is the difference between structural and behavioral adaptations?
How can observations of an animal help us understand its ability to survive?
I can describe and explain how different structural and behavioral adaptations help animals survive.
Use the PowerPoint 1, “Adaptations for Animal Survival” to engage students’ background knowledge about different adaptations animals have developed to survive in their environment.
Slides 1-5: What adaptations do these animals have that help them to survive?Slides 6-9: Give an explanation of the two types of adaptations: structural and behavioral. For each slide, point out specific adaptation for the animals, using the words “structural” and “behavioral” in the explanations.
30-60 minutes to review activity, collect materials, and print worksheets for distribution to students.
Students begin this activity by watching a PowerPoint and sharing their prior knowledge about different animal adaptations. Students will first receive instruction about the two different types of animal adaptations—structural and behavioral. They will then use pennies to “flip” for different adaptations, in order to make a unique animal with characteristics from each of the five structural and five behavioral categories. Students will show what they have learned by drawing and writing about their “flipped” animal to encourage creativity and thoughtful response in how these adaptations help their animals survive in their unique environments. As an extension, students can do further research on specific animals and their adaptations by making “What Am I?” cards to play in class.
- Students are given two pennies and Worksheet 1: “Flipping for Adaptations” with a list of structural and behavioral adaptations that their animal might have for survival.
- Students will flip two pennies to determine the adaptations of their animals. After each flip, students will circle the corresponding adaptation.
- After flipping for all adaptations, students will draw a picture of their “animal” in the box, with labels for the flipped adaptations. Students must also put their animal in an environment in which it would be able to survive.
environment, adaptation, structural, behavioral, organism
Students will write a paragraph describing the type of environment in which their animal would live and the adaptations it has that enables it to survive in that environment.
Students will research and write “What Am I?” cards, with clues (adaptations) for a specific animal. Each card will contain five clues that go from a very general clue to a more specific clue. The game is played similarly to “20 Questions.” After reading the first clue, the other student(s) are allowed three guesses to correctly identify the animal. If the animal is not guessed within the three chances, the next clue is read. The game continues in this manner until the correct animal is guessed. Students can quiz each other, or the teacher can collect and quiz the entire class.
"Adaptation." - National Geographic Education. Ed. Kara West and Jeannie Evers. National Geographic, n.d. Web. 02 Sept. 2014.
<http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/encyclopedia/adaptation/?ar_a=1> Encyclopedia of Life. Available from http://www.eol.org. Accessed 15 June 2014
"PENGUINS - Adaptations for an Aquatic Environment." PENGUINS - Adaptations for an Aquatic Environment. Sea World Parks and Entertainment, n.d. Web. 19 Aug. 2014.