Animal Adaptations is a complete teaching guide for primary grades using informational texts, digital games and video clips from Wild Kratts. K-2 teachers will find this standards-aligned resource extremely useful in helping children build conceptual knowledge and engage in scientific thinking and reasoning.
The PBS series NATURE has a terrific collection of Animal Adaptations videos for classroom use. Support materials for each video clip include teaching suggestions, background information, discussion questions, and student handouts.
Adaptation from WGBH is a lesson plan for grades 5-6 where students examine the evolution of adaptations and compare the physical and behavioral adaptations of animals in the Arctic tundra and Sonoran desert biomes.
For primary grades, Creaturepedia from PBS Kids' Wild Kratts is a fun way for kids to explore all the amazing "creature powers" that allow animals to survive and thrive. Aviva's PowerSuit Maker is an independent or partner activity that allows students to get creative with their adaptation knowledge.
What about traits that seem to have no function, adaptations that have multiple functions, or adaptations that seem to have conflicting purposes for an animal's survival? Find out about some of the less-obvious aspects of adaptation.
National Geographic has a series of lessons on adaptations that you may want to use in your classroom. The informational article Adaptation and Survival is available as leveled text for 2nd - 6th grade and above.
Superstaar from Baylor University is a collection of standards-aligned lesson plans for grades 2-5. Scroll through the available lessons on animal adaptations, instinctive behaviors, and environmental effects.
Adaptation Connections from San Diego Zoo (grades 1-3) and Animal Adaptations from Milwaukee Zoo (grades 3-5) are based around zoo excursions, but both contain a wealth of lessons and hands-on activities that can easily be used in the classroom without a physical field trip. You'll find these lessons engaging and comprehensive with the inclusion of cross-curricular projects.
Animal Adaptations is a lesson plan designed for fourth grade but easily adaptable to other grade levels. It includes power point presentations, quizzes, structured inquiry activities, and assessments.
In this lesson from Scholastic, students are challenged to become investigators as they select one animal and report on the ways it is adapted to its environment. A teachers' guide provides background and extensions.
From the Utah Education Network comes a complete lesson plan structured around the pedagogy of Bloom's Taxonomy. A wealth of suggested resources are supplied to help students explore both physical and behavioral adaptations at all levels of learning outcomes.
Organisms' Adaptations is one of the most engaging interactives you'll find on the topic of adaptations. Students will digitally interact with animals as they learn about physical and behavioral adaptations and the kinds of adaptations best suited to different biomes, and make predictions about where similar animals are most likely to live.
This interactive from Missouri Botanical Garden focuses on plant adaptations in different environments, and includes photos, a game, and an adaptation song.
In Arctic Animal Discovery from the National Park Service, students locate animals on the landscape and hear their voices as they learn more about adaptations in every season of the year.
This site has several interactives for your students to try out.
More Resources for Educators and Students
Science World Museum in Vancouver has some great ideas for quick classroom activities that you'll want to check out.
Animal senses are fascinating to kids. It's amazing to consider to how much better some animals can see, hear, and smell than humans can. Take a look at this resource from University of Washington.
The National Park Service offers Educator Resources on many aspects of adaptation science. Although many of these resources are designed in association with field trips to NPS sites, they are easily adaptable for classroom use. For example, Desert Adaptations features many ideas for student activities that explore the ways plants and animals survive in their desert habitat.