I call students to the gathering area. We review the learning that we have done regarding adaptations to the cold and hot. I tell them that today we are going to look at short descriptions of different biomes and then look at different characteristics of animals. When we are done looking, I will give students the chance to design an animal that would best fit in a particular biome.
Before we start on our own adaptations, we watch this video on biomes. I like this video as it is on youtube, but it is a 25 minutes documentary of the same standards as many subscription sites and there is a short quiz at the end to check for concentration and understanding.
This is a very well-done video on the different biomes of the earth. As we go through the video, I make a list of biomes on the board as students quietly point them out.
Once we have a list of biomes that students can choose from, we make a list of characteristics that animals might need to change to adapt to a particular environment.
Animals adapt through:
Once this discussion is completed and students have a good understanding of the different parts of an animal that can be adapted, I send them to their workspaces to brainstorm some ideas. They can sketch a brainstorm or they can complete a mind map, or I give them a silly stick figure animal that they can label as they think about adaptations. I offer these different formats as students think in different ways. Some students are linear thinkers and like to make notes or add to a mind map in an order fashion, others like to add ideas as they see them or think of them and may like to write notes on the particular body part as in a silly stick figure in order to remember it for the final drawing. Providing different formats meets the individual learning strengths of more students than requireing one way.
I check in with students to ask extension questions to ensure that they are thinking about all possible adaptations, and made plausible choices for their chosen biome. They will use this information to draw their animal and place it in its biome for the final project.
As I see students progressing from brainstorming to drafting, I call the attention of the class to go over the expectations of the final project. I don’t do this ahead of time as I want the brainstorm to be as free as possible.
The requirements for the final drawing are:
The animal must be large enough to show the details of the adaptations and fill approximately ½ to 2/3 of the paper that I hand out. The rest of the sheet of paper should show details of the biome that the students chose. Students will need to color all parts of the paper, unless some part of the drawing should be white. Each adaptation should be labeled in some way to show what the adaptation is and how it increases efficiency and survival. This can be done by writing on the drawing itself, or gluing labels onto the drawing afterwards. I tell students that it is often very hard to write labels onto a marker-colored drawing so adding small labels by gluing them on afterwards is acceptable.
I write this on the board or put it up on a poster for students to reference.
Once I am satisfied that students have thought through their adaptations, I hand out a letter-size piece of white paper for a draft sketch. This will be used to enlarge and sharpen when I hand out large, white construction paper for students to complete their final drawing.