Animal Adaptations
Age 8-10: Concept 4 - Exploration and Survival: Unit 1

Examine a variety of different adaptations of animals in different environments, including the desert, ocean, and rainforest. Explore the habits of nocturnal animals and experiment with the role that camouflage plays in an animal's survival. Select a habitat and design a new species of animal uniquely adapted to living in it.

This unit can be used independently but is designed to be taught in conjunction with the literature unit Abel's Island.


  • Able to read and comprehend chapter books at a 4th or 5th grade reading level
  • Able to write an organized paragraph
  • Usually used by children in fourth grade

Table of Contents

  • Lesson 1: Why Do Animals Adapt? (2 Days)
  • Lesson 2: Adapting to Climate (2 Days)
  • Lesson 3: Living in the Dark
  • Lesson 4: Hiding Out (2 Days)
  • Lesson 5: Finding Food and Taking Care of Babies
  • Lesson 6: Protection
  • Lesson 7: Aquatic Adaptations
  • Lesson 8: Adapting to Humans
  • Final Project: A New Species (2 Days)

Summary of Skills

Moving Beyond the Page is based on state and national standards. These standards are covered in this unit.
  • Analyze how adaptive characteristics help individuals within a species to survive and reproduce. (Science)
  • Collect information by observing and measuring. (Science)
  • Communicate valid conclusions. (Science)
  • Construct and interpret simple graphs, tables, maps, and charts to organize and evaluate information. (Science)
  • Describe environmental changes in which some organisms would thrive, become ill, or perish. (Science)
  • Describe how living organisms modify the physical environment to meet their needs, such as beavers building a dam or humans building a home. (Science)
  • Explain and discuss how humans and other animals can adapt their behaviors to live in changing habitats. (Science)
  • Identify characteristics among species that allow them to survive and reproduce. (Science)
  • Observe and describe how all living and nonliving things affect the life of a particular animal including other animals, plants, people, and climate. (Science)
  • Observe and discuss how behavior and body structure help an animal survive in a particular habitat. (Science)
  • Observe and identify characteristics among species that allow each to survive and reproduce. (Science)
  • Observe and record how animals of the same kind differ in characteristics and discuss possible advantages and disadvantages of this variation. (Science)
  • Represent the natural world using models. (Science)
  • Compare how people in different communities adapt to or modify the physical environment. (Social Studies)
  • Describe the effects of physical and human processes in shaping the landscape. (Social Studies)
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