Lesson Two: Objectives
By the end of this lesson, students should be able to:
    • Identify basic needs of living things
    • Explain what is meant by “Adaptation”
    • Identify some adaptations made by Arctic plants and animals for survival
    • Identify some ways that humans adapt for survival in the Arctic

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Engage: Activate Prior Knowledge; Generate Interest


Show some photos of animals with protective coloration (such as the anole and the stick grasshopper). Ask students how the animals look like their surroundings. Elicit how looking like their surroundings might help the animals. If needed, point out the physical features of the animals that keep them safe from predators. Ask students if they can name other animals that have special characteristics that keep them safe or help them in other ways.

Grasshopper__Stick.jpg Lizard__Anole.jpg

Link to DE image of stick grasshopper
Link to DE image of anoleLink to creative commons image of a mossy leaf gecko

Show students the video about living things and their needs. Ask students about their own physical features that allow them to meet their basic needs. For example, you might talk about how having hands that can grasp things to allow us to gather foods and feed ourselves.

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Link to DE Video on living things
Link to a video on the needs of living things from PBS









Show some photos of plants with thorns or needles. For example, show a photo of a rose. Point out the thorns on the stem in the background. Ask students why the rose has thorns. You may also wish to display a live plant that demonstrates protective adaptations, such as a cactus. 10-18-2012 11-27-08 AM.jpg

Explain to students that the thin needles of a cactus help to retain water in areas where water is scarce. Tell students that a plant that lives in a wet environment can afford to lose more water from its leaves. Therefore, it is more likely that students would find broad-leafed plants in wet areas like a rainforest.

Ask students why they wouldn’t want to touch the plant. Ask students how the plants are like the pictures of animals they just saw. (The plants and animals all have characteristics that enable them to survive in an environment and to meet their basic needs.) Use this discussion to determine what students already know about basic needs and adaptations.


Explore: Allowing Students to Experience Content


As a class, explore the concepts of the needs of living things using the DE Fun-damental Needs of Living Things.


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Engage: Activate Prior Knowledge; Generate Interest


Explain to the students that most of the adaptations discussed so far have been about protection. You will now be exploring adaptations based on survival in an environment. Tell students that they will be taking a trip to somewhere that it is very cold. How would they prepare so that they survive the cold? Make a list of all of the preparations the students would make. Lead them into a discussion about the virtues of layers over just one coat, why hats are important, that mittens keep your hands warmer than gloves, and why they would need to keep their faces covered.
Ask students what equipment they would need to move around on the ice and/or snow? Show images of snowshoes, skis and dog sleds. As students if they know why these items will help them travel over ice and snow.
List all suggestions. Students will re-visit this list later.


dog-sled-jc-parker.jpg crossCountry_skiing.jpg 758045.JPG

Explore: Allowing Students to Experience Content
Activity 1:
Students will now explore the concept of why the snow shoes, sled and skis help humans walk on ice and snow. Divide students into small groups and provide each group with the following materials:
  • plastic dish tub
  • several 4x6" pieces of aluminum foil tin-foil-boats.jpg
  • water (in the tub)
  • 25-30 pennies
Challenge the groups to shape the aluminum foil into a "boat" that floats on the water. Then explain that they are to see how many pennies they can place on their boat before it sinks. After several trials, ask the students who got the most pennies onto their boat what they did to accomplish the task. (spreading the pennies out over the surface of the foil distributes the weight) Lead the class in a discussion as to how this relates to the snow shoes, sleds and skies.

Activity 2:

blue_winter_mittens.pngHave students perform the activity Blubber Mittens to experience how having a layer of blubber helps the polar bear survive in it's environment.

Link to the Blubber Mittens Activity





Evaluate: Check for Understanding

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