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Animal Adaptations


  • Language Arts
  • Animals


  • 3-5

Brief Description

This amusing activity enhances students' understanding of animal adaptations.



  • construct reasonable explanations and draw conclusions using information and prior knowledge.
  • identify the external characteristics of different kinds of animals that allow their needs to be met.
  • analyze how adaptive characteristics help individuals within a species survive and reproduce.
  • exercise creative abilities as they think, write, and draw.


adaptation, habitat, predator, prey

Materials Needed

  • dice
  • construction paper
  • markers, crayons
  • feathers, sequins, glitter, yarn, glue (optional)

The Lesson

Before introducing this activity, review with students the concept of animal adaptation. Ask students to help you make a list of animals and some of the ways in which they adapt to their environment.

Make a 2-column chart on the board. Label one column "Adaptations" and the other column "Animals." Write the numbers from 1 to 6 in each column.

Ask students to think creatively as they call out an adaptation that a truly unique or unusual animal might make. Write six of the most creative adaptations students come up with next to the numbers in the Adaptations column on the chart. Some possible examples: purple polka dots, two tongues, blue fur, plaid scales

Then have students provide the names of six real animals. Choose a variety of animals and write the name of one animal next to each of the six numbers in the Animals column on the chart.

Next, have each student roll a die two times. Match the number that comes up on their first roll with the name of the animal next to that number on the chart. Match the number that comes up on the second roll with the corresponding Adaptation on the chart. That animal and adaptation will be used for subsequent parts of this activity.

For example, by the roll of the die, a student might end up with an alligator with blue fur or a giraffe with pink polka dots!

Students will create a picture that depicts their animal with its unusual adaptation. They will use a variety of art supplies to do this. Those supplies might include crayons and markers. In addition, students might use glitter, yarn, feathers Encourage students' to exercise creativity as they make their pictures.

After creating their pictures, students will write a paragraph that explains how their animal uses its adaptation to help it survive and/or reproduce. This paragraph integrates science and writing. Students might include in their writing details about their animal's habitat and diet. They might explain whether their animal is a predator, prey, or both. Encourage students to work what they know about the science of animal adaptation into their writing.

Younger students might do the activity orally; the teacher might write their stories.


Students will explain -- orally or in writing -- how their animal uses its adaptation to survive and/or reproduce. Students will use skills appropriate to their grade level and abilities.

Submitted By

Jeana Carlson, Navarro Elementary School in Bryan, Texas

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