Behavioral and Structural Adaptations

9 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT classify animal adaptations as structural or behavioral.

Big Idea

Students will read a passage and identify animal adaptations as structural or behavioral to build their concept of adaptations.


10 minutes

I posted the day's focus question, "What structures and behaviors help animals survive in their environment?" on the board.  Instead of having them write this in their science notebook right away like usual, we discussed it first.  I had them tell a neighbor what structures were, then share with the class.  Next, they all turned to tell one person what behaviors were, and shared with the class.  Finally, their right hand told their left hand what environment means, and shared with the class.  I wanted to make sure we had some common vocabulary, while keeping engagement high.

 I then drew a T-Chart on the board, and wrote structures on one side, and behaviors on the other.  I reviewed that both structures and behaviors are types of adaptations that help an animal survive.  I gave an example of a turtle shell being a structural adaptation that keeps turtles safe from predators, and added turtle shells to the structure side.  I then gave geese flying south in the winter as an example of a behavioral adaption.


30 minutes

I had the class write down the focus question and draw the T-chart in their notebooks.  I had them turn to a chapter of their Structures of Life books from FOSS, but adaptations is a pretty common theme, and you could probably find an applicable chapter in most science books, or try something web based, such as Wild Kratts or Animal Planet.

We read the first paragraph together, and as we got to an adaptation, we would write the animal and the adaption in the appropriate column (porcupine spines under structural).  Once they had a few examples of each, I told them to read the rest of the section and record the adaptations in the correct column.


5 minutes

As most students were finishing up, I asked them to work as a group to come up with at least 2 more examples for each type of adaptation that were not in the passage.  This video shows two students giving some coaching to a group member and bringing her into the conversation positively.


I wanted to make sure that they understood that structure and behavior were two types of adaptations, so after they had time to record their own examples, I asked the class to tell me what the two types of adaptations were.  I then collected 5 notebooks for formative assessment.  I looked for the focus question, and 14 adaptations total, 5 of each type from the book, and 2 of each type from the group.