Lesson Plan


A Snowshoe hare sititng in the grass
Snowshoe Hare


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Grade Level:
Kindergarten-Twelfth Grade
Biology: Animals, Ecology, Physical Education, Physical Fitness, Wildlife Biology
20 minutes or longer
Group Size:
Up to 36
National/State Standards:
Next generation science standards: 3-LS4-2., 3-LS4-3., MS-LS4-4.
adaptation, animals, camouflage, ecology, physical education, Physical Fitness, predator, prey, wildlife biology


This active game may be used to introduce the concepts of predator prey dynamics as well as adaptations.  Students love playing this game.


Students role play predator or prey to learn about physical/behavioral adaptations in predation.


All organisms have adaptations that help them survive and thrive. Some adaptations are structural. Structural adaptations are physical features of an organism like the bill on a bird or the fur on a bear. Other adaptations are behavioral. Behavioral adaptations are the things organisms do to survive. For example, bird calls and migration are behavioral adaptations.

Structural or physical adaptations usually occur because a gene mutates or changes by accident. Some mutations can help an animal or plant survive better than others in the species without the mutation.

For example, imagine a bird species. One day a bird is born with a beak that is longer than the beak of other birds in the species. The longer beak helps the bird catch more food. Because the bird can catch more food, it is healthier than the other birds, lives longer and breeds more. The bird passes the gene for a longer beak on to its offspring. They also live longer and have more offspring and the gene continues to be inherited generation after generation.

Eventually the longer beak can be found in all of the species. This doesn't happen overnight. It takes thousands of years for a mutation to be found in an entire species.
Over time, animals that are better adapted to their environment survive and breed. Animals that are not well adapted to an environment may not survive.
The characteristics that help a species survive in an environment are passed on to future generations. Those characteristics that don't help the species survive slowly disappear.



What did you do that helped? Was that a structural (physical) or behavioral adaptation?
What did you do that got you caught? Was that a structural (physical) or behavioral adaptation?
Are you wearing anything that helps or hurts?
Why do you think ________ tagged the ‘prey’ first?
What if you could play again? Would you do anything differently?

Park Connections

Yellowstone is home to many species of animals both predator and prey who rely on their adaptations such as camouflage for survival.


Conduct a science experiment based on camouflage. Select several habitats in the area. Have students develop a procedure and write hypothesis about which habitat will result in the most predators being spotted after the first count, what color clothing is most likely to be spotted, or another question students choose.

Research camouflage and other adaptations utilized by animals in Yellowstone or near your school.


adaptation, camouflage, predator, prey

Last updated: February 24, 2015