Since the beginning of time, man has looked at animals and wondered, "Why can't I do that?". We discussed the specific adaptations that elephants possess and asked, "If you could take any adaptation that the elephant has, and use it for humans, what would you choose? What would you create that could make your life easier or better?" That is the task that my students completed with this lesson. Their imagination was their only limitation and they did not disappoint!
My students sketched their possible ideas and discussed it with their group. Not everyone in the group had to make the same thing, but if they worked together there was no problems with that. Some students prefer to work alone and for this project, that was an option. Here is an example of an adaptation idea one student wrote in his notebook.
This project took two days, with the first day as the brainstorming and sketching session and the second day as the actual building of the prototype. Here a student tries out his Elephant Ears hat to cool off to see if it works. Here a student explains his adaptation project to a fellow student, he created a hook from the idea of an elephant's trunk to hook onto his book bag to carry extra books or a lunch box.
Wrapping up on the first day, we discussed some of the ideas and their concerns on whether they could actually build what they envisioned. On the second day, they worked so diligently that you could hear a pin drop. When the students were done, we completed a gallery walk and students left comments for each other. These lessons were a part of huge STEAM unit on adaptations that my grade level completed. Each group worked collaboratively and displayed their adaptations for human along with their research, here's one of the completed displays.