Designing Crayfish Habitats

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SWBAT design a classroom habitat for crayfish based on research.

Big Idea

How can you design a crayfish habitat for classroom study that crayfish are adapted to?


10 minutes

I began by having students copy the focus question, "How can you design a crayfish habitat for classroom study that crayfish are adapted to?"  I know this is a wordy focus question, but I wanted to focus on the idea that the adaptations of crayfish, or any other animal, are specifically adapted to that environment.

I asked my class to tell me a few adaptations of polar bears.  They mentioned sharp claws for hunting prey, think fur to stay warm, and white fur for camouflage.  I then asked them to imagine that I wanted to build a custom habitat to give polar bears after the polls become to warm.  I fill it with the same animals they like to hunt, keep it air conditioned to the temperatures they are used to, but cover it in blue snow.  I asked them how the polar bears would do in this environment, and they quickly recognized that the polar bears camouflage would no longer be effective.  I used to reinforce the idea that adaptations are specific to their environment.

I let my class know what we were expecting the crayfish to arrive within the next day or two, and told them they needed to answer the focus question specifically as it related to crayfish adaptations.  I drew a T-chart and labeled the left side habitat, and the right side adaptation.  I gave an example of fresh water under the habitat heading, and asked what the adaptation was that made the water appropriate.  The response was "to breathe," but I corrected that breathing is a necessity of life, an adaptation is a structure or a behavior that allows them to live in their habitat.  They eventually came up with gills.  

Before I got them started, I asked them what resources they thought would be appropriate.  Most chose the internet, though a few chose Structures of Life from FOSS.


30 minutes

As students worked, I circulated to make sure they were recording their information in their notebooks.  I really had to reinforce that we were not looking for structures and functions today, but for the things we needed to include in the crayfish habitats, and what specific adaptations the crayfish have that made that element necessary.


5 minutes

When groups felt they were done, I had them write down a question they had that they hoped to answer about crayfish.  I had randomly chose 5 students to turn in their science notebooks for formative assessment.  As it turned out, all of their questions were simple research questions, which led to Classifying Questions the next day.