Habitats and Adaptations Activity

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SWBAT make a claim as to why an organism cannot survive in a specific habitat.

Big Idea

Students answer the question, "Why can't I live here?" about a given organism.


5 minutes

Teacher Tip: This lesson is a reinforcement activity to support Habitats and Adaptations, two prior lessons.  Students will explain why a given animal cannot survive in a given habitat (polar bear in a desert).  They will make their claim and support it with evidence about the habitat and organism, addressing NGSS SP7. In preparation, you will need to print the images of organisms and habitats and cut them out, one incorrect pair for each group or student. 

To begin the lesson, students will address the following prompt in their student notes sheet (displayed on the board and written in their notebooks): 

ENGAGE: What 3 things must a habitat provide an organism? (food, protection, water)

After 3-4 minutes, I ask 1-2 students to share their responses with the class and write them on the SMART board for future reference.


30 minutes

Next, students either work in small groups (3-4 students) or individually to address the following task using ELABORATE images

ELABORATE: Why can’t I live here? Activity

Using the organism and habitat images, decide why that organism cannot live in that habitat.  Provide at least one piece of evidence for why that organism would not survive. Then, provide your justification for what it would need to survive there. Finally, draw the organism in its proper habitat and explain why it is more suited to the organism.

Hand out one organism and one habitat that do not go together.  I read over the task procedure with the students, as well as the information table from the notes sheet.  I remind them of the three things that a habitat must provide an organism (food, water, protection) and ask them to consider what the sources of these would be in the habitat.  

Can your animal get those things in this habitat?

Students spend about 25 minutes completing the table. I move from table to table addressing any errors I encounter and answering any questions students may have. After 25 minutes, I ask the students to share their information with the rest of the class, until we have covered all of the images. 

Habitats and Adaptations


5 minutes

Students now attempt to draw the correct habitat for their organism. They do this in class or for homework. 

EVALUATE: Draw your organism in its correct habitat and explain why this habitat is best for the organism.