Activity Overview

In this activity, students will choose a living thing and describe the adaptations that allow it to survive well in its environment While the example above shows three animals, thee instructions given in the activity have students complete this assignment for one living thing. Feel free to adjust the instructions to have students label the adaptations of more than one animal! You may also ask students to use a poster layout instead of a single 16x9 cell, as this can provide them with additional space to create something both educational and fun. Below you will find some suggested animals, but students may select their own organism to research and label.

To scaffold this activity for your students, provide the adaptations and have them match up the adaptation to the organism. To challenge your more advanced students, have them create some additional adaptations for the organisms and get them to justify how these adaptations will be beneficial for the organism. Alternatively, get your students to research the evolutionary history of the organisms adaptations.

Animal Adaptation Examples

Animal Adaptations
Polar Bear
  • Small ears to reduce heat loss
  • Thick white fur to help keep the bear warm and for camouflage in the snow
  • Thick layer of fat to help insulate for warmth
  • Large paws to stop the bear from sinking in the snow
  • Sharp teeth to eat prey easily.
  • Large feet to reduce the pressure the camel exerts on the sand
  • Hump(s) containing fat, which the camel can use for energy (the fat doesn’t insulate its body)
  • Nostrils are lined with hair and can shut to stop sand getting into the nose
  • Thick lips, so the camel can eat prickly desert plants
  • Bushy eyelashes to stop sand from getting in their eyes
  • Streamlined shape and powerful tail to move the mammal very quickly through the water
  • Thick blubber (fat) for insulation in cold oceans
  • Sharp teeth to rip up prey
  • Well camouflaged - when looking from the bottom of the water up their white underbellies look like the surface of the water; when looking down from the top of the water, they blend in with the color of the depths
  • Horns to fight with other giraffes
  • Patterned coat for camouflage
  • Leathery mouth to eat tough and prickly plants
  • Long neck and legs to help the animal reach food high up in the trees
  • Long, tough tongue that can grip leaves and branches
  • Thick stem full of spongy tissue that can absorb lots of water
  • Spines are curled leaves that decrease surface area and reduce water loss through transpiration and deter animals from eating the plant
  • Thick, waxy epidermis to reduce water loss
  • Shallow, but expansive root system to increase the water uptake
  • Stem contains a high density of chloroplasts for photosynthesis
Barn Owl
  • Flexible neck allows the owl to see in all directions
  • Soft feathers for near-silent flight to catch prey without being heard
  • Large wingspan compared to body mass, meaning they can fly very slowly
  • Asymmetric ears allows the owl to pinpoint the direction of sound with high accuracy
  • Sharp talons to grip prey

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that shows how a living thing is adapted to its environment.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Choose an organism.
  3. Find an image of the organism on Photos for Class, the search bar, or from the "Animals" category.
  4. Label the diagram with five different adaptations with text boxes and arrows.
  5. Explain how these adaptations increase the chances of survival or reproduction.
  6. Save often!

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 4-6

Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)

Type of Assignment Individual or Group


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

More Storyboard That Activities


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