In my classroom, this was a two session activity. The first day, students worked on "drafts" of their animals and the second day was the completion of their product.
For the next two days, students will consider, "What would an organism need in order to survive all environments?"
As students consider this, I ask them what might help a polar bear survive in the forest, or a lizard survive in the ocean. As students discuss this with their table mates, I list their ideas on the board.
I will explain, again, to the students that they will be using their information about environments and organism needs to create an animal that could survive in all 6 biomes.
For our purposes, survival will be successful if the animal or plant has 2 adaptations to help it.
In order to review the idea of adaptation, and give the students ideas of animal adaptations, I will show this YouTube video on the board. As they watch, I will ask them to consider what adaptations they think they might be able to add to their fictional character.
These video clips are from 2 days of work. On the first day, students used their notes from the biome presentations to create plans for an animal or plant that had at least 2 adaptations to help it survive in each biome.
This student worked through a misconception about white fur absorbing heat and the idea of camouflaging. As she described her plan, we were able to revise some thinking and help her think about each environment using facts.
While the students were working, I was able to catch this student in mid-development. As she worked, I questioned her regarding reasons and helped her by prompting some adaptations about breathing and movement.
Midway through the student's work, it occurred to me that Eric Carle wrote a book that reminded me of this activity-The Mixed Up Chameleon. I grabbed the book from my classroom library and asked the children to leave their work and come to the community area. I told them that I suddenly remembered a great book that might give them some ideas, as Eric Carle used adaptations of animals in one of his amazing books. I shared the book in about 5 minutes and back to work the students with, after some laughs and more ideas!
Day two brought us to presentation time. I divided the room into docents and museum guests. Each docent was to teach about their display and highlight how the organism is specifically designed for each biome. The "guests" rotated around, much like in a museum, to the displays. After 5-7 minutes, the guests became docents, and the docents were the guests.
In this clip, you will witness the docent and guest exchanging ideas. I was so happy to hear the "guest" ask clarifying questions and the docent able to answer!
This student did not have a partner to present to, as we have an odd number of students, so I asked her to "defend" her design by asking many clarifying questions. Listen in and hear all she has to share!
In order to share today, I simply ask students to think about and be ready to share out their favorite adaptation that they saw during their museum tour.
This is an effective strategy in compiling information and assessing the efficiency of the lesson.
Then, to close, I gave the students an animal adaption chart to fill out about their animal. This acted as a self assessment and gave the students time to revise and edit their work prior to displaying them in the hallway.
If you would like to use the My Adapted Animal.docx in the resources section, please download it first. It appears blank until it is downloaded.