- Fourth Grade
- Science, Writing
- 70 minutes
Students put their knowledge of animal adaptations to the test when they create a new creature with its own unique set of adaptations!
Students will be able to determine various ways that an animal could adapt to a specific habitat.
Introduction (5 minutes)
- Start by asking students to discuss the following question: What do people do to adapt to winter weather?
- Tell students that adapt means to change something about your appearance, behavior, or surroundings to make it easier to live and survive.
- Have some students share out. Students may say things like: wear winter clothes, use blankets, salt the sidewalks, and stay indoors.
- Tell students that animals must also adapt to their habitat, or place where they live, to survive.
Explicit Instruction/Teacher Modeling (10 minutes)
- Tell students that there are two basic ways that animals adapt to their habitats.
- One way is by changing the way that they look. This is called a physical adaptation. For example, a deer can camouflage, or blend in, with its brown forest surroundings. A duck has webbed feet to help it swim in the water.
- Ask students to share some other physical adaptations that they know of.
- Another way an animal adapts to its habitat is by changing the way it acts. This is called a behavioral adaptation. For example, a bear hibernates in the winter. Geese fly south for the winter.
- Ask students to share some other behavioral adaptations that they know of.
Guided Practice/Interactive Modeling (5 minutes)
- Explain that students will be creating a new animal! They can use supplies to draw a picture of their animal or create a three-dimensional replica.
- First, students will read the worksheet American Landforms. Then, they will choose the habitat in which their animal will live.
- The animal they create must demonstrate at least two physical adaptations.
- When students are finished creating their animals, they must write about the two physical adaptations as well as two behavioral adaptations that their animal has.
Independent Working Time (40 minutes)
- Pass out the American Landforms worksheet and have students silently read it.
- When students are finished, they should choose a habitat in which they would like their animal to live.
- Students should brainstorm what their animal will look like, how it will act, and what it will be named.
- Give students ample time to create their new creature and write about its adaptations.
- Enrichment: Have students research animals with interesting adaptations, such as those that live deep in the ocean or those that live in the Galapagos Islands. These students can later share their findings with the class.
- Support: Once these students have chosen a habitat, give them guiding questions to come up with adaptations. For example: How will animals in the Rocky Mountains adapt to the year-round snow?
Related Books and/or Media
- WEBSITE: National Geographic Kids: Animals
Assessment (5 minutes)
- Use the students' written work to determine that they understand the difference between physical and behavioral adaptations, and that their adaptations match the landforms and climate of the habitat.
Review and Closing (5 minutes)
- Have students set their animals and written work on their tables or desks. The class can walk around the room and look at their classmates' creative work!