During this introductory lesson on adaptations I wanted my student to see the big picture about adaptations,primarily as it relates to the DCI (Disciplinary Core Idea), that the environment can also affects the traits that an organism develops. I used a CouldYourAnimalSurviveDay1.pptx in order to guide my students through the lesson as well as helping them stay focused on the task.
Each Group was given 2 envelopes, the first with animals to color and the second with a habitat that corresponds to those animals.
This was my second time doing this lesson and I'd like to share what I learned from the first time. Insist that the students color the animals as realistically as possible. I was not explicit the first time and ended up with a pink bear! Trust me, with a pink bear, the idea of camouflage is practically impossible.
After the students colored and cut their animals, I had them open the envelope that contained the habitat. They had to explain, working as a team, why they thought that their particular animal would or would not, survive in that environment. I created a AnimalHabitatFocusPageDay1 that they could use to help guide their inquiry. For this lesson, I purposely did two things, first, I only used two of the habitats, I did this to help lay the ground work for the next lesson that would be require them to think more deeply about the concept of adaptation. Secondly, I didn't use the word "claim", because they will need to make a formal claim in the next lesson, however, I did ask them to provide evidence as to why they had come to their conclusions, which will help when they state the their claims in the future.
They then traded habitats with the next group. This is when they really had to work together to decide what features their animals possess that could help them survive in that new environment, seeing the sample, New habitat changed the whole dynamic of the discussion. They were describing inherited traits without even realizing it! This laid the foundation for day two when the academic vocabulary explaining what they noticed comes into play.
During this portion of the lesson I really wanted my students to just work on the "what ifs", just as scientists do when they are investigating new theories.
I used the last slide on the CouldYourAnimalSurviveDay1 to help my students frame what they are going to share during their peer to peer discussions. The Sample Accountable Talk Sentence Stems and Starters are key. They need to get accustomed to using this language during their discussions. The discussions were very lively, however, they used the accountable talk and every student felt like whatever points their group made was taken seriously and was worth sharing.