Lesson Two: Objectives
By the end of this lesson, students should be able to:
    • Describe physical and behavioral adaptations
    • Define natural selection
    • Explain which parental adaptations are inherited and which are not
    • Explain how adaptation and natural selection leads to evolution
    • Describe specific physical and behavioral adaptations exhibited by organisms in the Arctic

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Engage: Activate Prior Knowledge; Generate Interest


Stimulate Interest


10-23-2012 11-39-36 AM.png Show students the video segment Dung Beetles in Spain to introduce students to adaptations in a specific organism. After viewing the video, have students write down their thoughts about what adaptations the dung beetle has that allow it to survive. Encourage students to share their thoughts with the class. (For classrooms without Discovery Education, refer to the Youtube video link below)

Link to DE Video: Dung Beetles in Spain
Link to Youtube Video: Animal Adaptations




Activate Prior Knowledgegroup discussion.jpg

Give the students a few minutes to do a Think-Pair-Share about how the dung beetles became adapted to their environment. Student pairs should write these thoughts down in their notes. Then, develop a class list of ideas students have about how animals adapt to their
environment. Revisit these thoughts as the lesson progresses, clarifying and revising any misconceptions.






Explore: Allowing Students to Experience Content


Show students the video segment Natural Selection: Survival of the Fittest. Explain to students that they should be paying particular attention to the definition of natural selection, and an explanation for how natural selection works. Show the video segment twice, if necessary. Pose the first Essential Question to the students, and give the students a few minutes to perform a Think-Pair-Share to propose rough answers to the question. (Those classroom without Discovery Education can visit the How Stuff Works page on Natural Selection)

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Link to DE Video: Natural Selection: Survival of the Fittest
Link to How Stuff Works Video: How Natural Selection Works







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Have students create a four-column chart with “Organism,” “Environment,” “Adaptation,” and “Physical/Behavioral” as the column headers. Students should fill the chart out as they watch Namibia, Hyenas: Social Cooperation, and Ocean Floors. Go over the chart as a class and clarify any
questions students may have as you create a class chart you can refer back to throughout the lessons.
Classrooms without access to Discovery Education can use page 3-6 of the packet on Animal Adaptations from the Milwaukee Zoo to gather information about adaptations in several species.





Link to the DE Video: Namibia Hyenas
Link to the DE Video: Ocean Floors
Link to packet from Milwaukee Zoo

Have students complete the Exploration Eating Like a Bird, and the worksheet that accompanies it. Afterward, review the questions from the worksheet as a class. Return to students’ notes on the videos, readings, and explorations and clarify any lingering questions students may have and add any necessary information to the class chart.
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Explain: Firm Up Understanding; Allow Students to Explain What They Know

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Have students do the exploration Moth of a Different Color and the worksheet that goes with it. As a class, develop answers to the essential questions that incorporate information from this exploration. Write these answers on the board or in a central location where students can see them.

Revisit students’ written thoughts about adaptations from the Engage section. Students should work in pairs to discuss how their initial thoughts were correct, or how they should be revised. Have students summarize what they now know about adaptations that they didn’t know before, and share their summaries with the class.


Explore: Allowing Students to Experience Content

Have students complete the inquiry activity, Arctic Movers10-24-2012 12-16-55 AM.png and Shakers found on pages 25-28 of the activity packet from the Toledo Zoo listed below. Through guided inquiry, students will investigate the insulation qualities of various materials to determine which items have the best heat retention characteristics.

Students will apply this knowledge to identify ways that Arctic animals retain heat to survive the harsh Arctic environment.

Link to the Arctic Movers and Shakers packet





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Show studentsthe PowerPoint presentation
"Polar Bears Adaptations"
(credit: Mrs. Byrnes @ Grissom Middle School)
Have students complete the graphic organizer to gather information regarding Polar Bear adaptations.

Link to Polar Bears Adaptations PowerPoint



Explain: Firm Up Understanding; Allow Students to Explain What They Know

Have students read the article on Polar Bear Adaptations on Buzzle.com. Provide students with a second copy of the chart from the video activity above. Students should chart all of the adaptations listed for polar bears and identify them as either physical or behavioral, citing reasoning for their choice.

Link to Buzzle.com article on Polar Bear Adaptations

Elaborate: Allow Students to Apply What They Know


Evaluate: Check for Understanding

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Link to Animal Adaptations Game











Have students visit the Animal Adaptations Game website to try to beat the clock and identify adaptations for each animal.

Have students complete the writing assignment "Design your own Animal". Student respond to information about different habitats and describe an animal that would thrive there. They then discuss adaptations that animals must make to survive under certain conditions. 10-24-2012 12-10-05 AM.png

Link to Design Your Own Animal Writing Activity