Lesson Plan


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Big Ideas




In this lesson, students learn the importance of adaptation and why animals need adaptations to survive. Throughout this lesson, they learn two types of adaptations and how those adaptations affect animals in their environments. Students will:

  • describe the basic survival needs of animals (e.g., air, water, and food).

  • identify adaptations that help animals survive in various environments.

Essential Questions

  • How does the variation among individuals affect their survival?

  • How do the structures and functions of living things allow them to meet their needs?


  • Adaptation: A specific feature that allows a plant or animal to live in a particular environment.

  • Characteristics: Features that make plants and animals different from each other. Examples are leaf shape, body covering, number of legs, and how animals move.

  • Camouflage: A way of blending into the surroundings so that an organism cannot be seen. Also called “protective coloration.”

  • Environment: The living and nonliving things that surround an organism.

  • Hibernation: When organisms become inactive for a period of time for survival, such as during cold winter months.

  • Migration: When organisms move from one environment to another to find food or a mate.

  • Mimicry: When an organism resembles the appearance, actions, or sounds of another organism.


60 minutes/1–2 class periods

Prerequisite Skills


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Related Materials & Resources

The possible inclusion of commercial websites below is not an implied endorsement of their products, which are not free, and are not required for this lesson plan.

  • How do frogs survive winter? Why don't they freeze to death?


  • Hiding Out by James Martin. Random House Children’s Books, 1993.

  • Where’s Waldo? picture book by Martin Handford.

  • How Do Animals Adapt? by Bobbie Kalman and Niki Walker. Crabtree Publishing Company, 2000.

  • Claws, Coats, and Camouflage by Susan E. Goodman. Millbrook Press, 2001.

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