Animal and plant adaptations has to be one of my favorite science units. There are several fun lessons and activities that students love, and there are so many ways to make the lessons meaningful to students. This post shares a few activities you can use to teach plan and animal adaptations, as well as a link to my Plant and Animal Adaptations unit.
Birds’ Beaks Experiment
Last week we did one of my favorite science experiments of the year. We’ve been studying how birds’ beaks are physical adaptions of birds. To expand on this concept, we did an experiment on birds’ beaks. This activity does require quite a bit of preparation, but I feel that it is definitely worth the work. I collected several types of tools to serve as birds’ beaks (tongs, tweezers, slotted spoons, eye droppers, staple removers, etc.) Then, I collected a variety of bird foods (snails/macaroni, grubs/m&ms, nectar/red water, worms/ gummy worms, small seeds, large seeds, flesh/staples in cardboard, fish/paper clips, beetles/raisins, duckweed/Styrofoam). I typically mix the food in with oatmeal or potting soil to make it a little more realistic for students. During the activity students have two attempts to collect as much food as possible with the two beaks of their choice. I like to give students 30 seconds for each attempt, and I have students record their results on their data collection sheet. This is probably one of my top five favorite lessons for the entire year, because my students learn so much about adaptations.
Bird Beaks and Feet
I was so impressed with their creativity, and both groups really grasped the concept of camouflage. We also had a Camouflage Day where students wore camouflage to school. This is a small group of students who participated.
I display the adaptation posters below for essential vocabulary practice. We also play a few of the vocabulary games I blogged about in this blog post.