Saturday, November 5, 2011

Annotated Bib - Behavioral vs Physical Adaptations

For my lesson on Life Processes, I am creating a third grade lesson on behavioral and physical adaptations. My students will investigate the different adaptations of animals and the distinctions between behavioral and physical.

Activity One: What are adaptations
  • Tell students that today we are going to be talking about adaptations.
  • Who remembers what that word means?
  • Discuss with student what it means, writing this list on the board.
  • Pull up various pictures onto the SmartBoard (or overhead) of animals, discussing what adaptations they possess.
  • You may also hold up various stuffed animals and puppets, giving clues to what some of their adaptations include.
  • Ask class about differences between behavioral and physical.
  • Provide a few examples.
  • Ask for two student helpers to come to the from of the room.
  • Explain that they are two hawks soaring high in the air, looking for food.
  • Below is a brown cloth, folded over (underneath are lots of small bugs cut out of various fabrics).
  • Explain that they only have a few quick seconds to dive down and grab their prey. They must grab the first bug they see.
  • Have students grab for bugs, and explain that it is harder to see the brown ones. Why?
  • Hold up a picture of a moth, covering up most of the image, showing only the eye-like design on it's wings. Ask students what animal they see.
  • Discuss mimicry and camouflage and the fact that it is physical.
  • Discuss migration and how it is behavioral.
  • Talk through other behavioral adaptation, such as hibernation.
  • Ask class about differences between behavioral and physical.
  • Give students a printed Venn Diagram (empty), along with some laminated animal pictures.
  • Have students work with a partner to place animals in the category of behavioral, physical, or both.
  • After a few minutes, create a Venn Diagram on the board or SmartBoard
  • Have students come up to board and place different animal pictures under either behavioral or physical.
  • Discuss the correct placement, while students record the information on their Venn Diagrams.
Activity Two: Create a New Animal
  • Have students create a picture of a made up create, using the traits from two different animals. They must choose an animal with behavioral and an animal with physical adaptations.


By Robin Page. Illus. by Steve
Jenkins. 2006. 32p. Houghton Mifflin Books, (978-0395825143). Gr. K-5.
This book contains great illustrations and unique examples of adaptations animals use to stay out of harms way.

By Marianne Berkes. Illus. by Jennifer DiRubbio. 2010. 32 p. Dawn Publishing, (978-1584691273). Gr. K-5.
I chose this book because it provided examples of several animals who migrate. For each animal it took several pages, along with beautiful pictures, to describe each unique migration story.

Strange Dances and Long Flights. By Patricia M. Stockland. Illustrated by Todd Ouren. 2005. 24 p. Picture Window Books, (9781404809369) Grades K-5.
This book makes for a good easy-read, discussing different behavioral adaptations.

Claws, Coats, and Camouflage.

By Susan E. Goodman. Illustrated by Michael J. Doolittle. 2001. 48 p. @1st Century, (978-0761318651) Gr. K-5.
Students could easily use this nonfiction as a reference to gather facts about different animal adaptations.

By Leo Loinni. 1974. 32 p. Dragonfly Books, (978-0394827995) Gr. K-5.
This is a fun story to read to inspire students to create their own
creatures, with unique traits.


(Kratts' Creatures)
This website allows you to travel to each continent, looking at different animals who live there, while learning facts about their various adaptations. It is easy for younger students to navigate and contains facts on a variety of animals.

(Camouflage Game)
This game is simple one, but I think students would enjoy it during free time. You must alter the color or pattern of an animals skin or surrounding habitat, in order to create the best form of camouflage.

This website has a great deal of games, activities, lessons, and videos on animals, their adaptations, and habitats. One of the games has students changing the body parts on an animal, to create various adaptations. There is a space at the bottom of the page for students to write about their new animal.

(Arctic Adaptation Quizes)
These sites contain quizzes a student could take to assess his/her own knowledge about animals in the arctic, and the adaptations they possess to live in the cold.

(How Animals Meet Their Needs)
I like this game because it has students making connections, rather than simply recalling facts. Students must match animals' adaptations to the need it is meeting. This games has many different animal slides/questions, so there is the opportunity to play many rounds.

For Teachers:
For this lesson, I used the Science SOL 3.4 as my guide.

The student will investigate and understand that adaptations allow animals to satisfy life needs and respond to the environment. Key concepts include:
a) behavioral adaptations; and
b) physical adaptations.

Understanding the Standard
In order to survive, animals act in different ways to gather and store food, find shelter, defend themselves, and rear their young.
  • Physical adaptations help animals survive in their environment (e.g., camouflage, mimicry).
  • Various animals possess adaptations which help them blend into their environments to protect themselves from enemies (camouflage). Camouflage is the means by which animals escape the notice of predators, usually because of a resemblance to their surroundings using coloration or outer coverage patterns.
  • Mimicry occurs when a species has features similar to another species. Either one or both are protected when a third species cannot tell them apart. (Mimicry happens in both animal and plant species.) Some animals look like other animals to avoid being eaten (mimicry). This adaptation helps protect them from their predators. (For example, the viceroy butterfly tastes good to birds, but the monarch butterfly tastes bad. Because the viceroy looks like the monarch butterfly, it is safer from predators.) Mimicry can also occur as mimicked behaviors, mimicked sounds, or mimicked scents.
  • Behavioral adaptations allow animals to respond to life needs. Examples include hibernation, migration, dormancy, instinct, and learned behavior.
  • Some animals (e.g., groundhogs, black bears) go into a deep sleep in which their body activities slow down due to seasonal changes and they can live off stored food (hibernation). Hibernation is a condition of biological rest or inactivity where growth, development, and metabolic processes slow down.
  • Some animals (e.g., geese, monarch butterflies, tundra swans) go on a long-distance journey from one place to another (migration) in search of a new temporary habitat because of climate, availability of food, season of the year, or reproduction.
  • Dormancy is a state of reduced metabolic activity adopted by many organisms (both plants and animals) under conditions of environmental stress or, when such stressful conditions are likely to appear, as in winter.
  • Some animals are born with natural behaviors that they need in order to survive in their environments (instincts). These behaviors are not learned but are instinctive, such as a beaver building a dam or a spider spinning a web.
  • Some behaviors need to be taught in order for the animal to survive, such as a bear cub learning to hunt (learned behavior).

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