- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8
Fitting in with your environment — that's what animal adaptations are all about! You wouldn't expect a shark to take a stroll through the desert, and penguins in a rainforest would be equally weird!
We humans can learn a great deal about our own ability to survive by studying the way that different animals are adapted to their own environments. Some adaptations like fins and gills make it possible to live in specialized environments, while others like hibernation help certain species to survive a long cold winter without food. To help you and your class explore the wonderful world of animal adaptations, check out these Web sites from around the world!
Dirtmeister's Science Reporters: Animal Adaptations
What better place to start than right here on Scholastic.com! On the Dirtmeister's Science Reporters page, kids from all over the place come up with different animals from around their homes and areas — and then publish their reports on how these animals are suited to fit their particular environment. The students' reports are published in the Science Observer. As always, an informative background section explains the different ways that animals can adapt and a Teacher's Guide makes lesson-planning a breeze!
Bank Street School: Environmental Science
If you're looking for some cooperative learning experiences tied to animal adaptations that your class can do with a local nature center or zoo, check out what the Bank Street School is doing with the Central Park Wildlife Center in New York City. Here your class can view video clips of the Bank Street kids in action and check out their firsthand reports on such animals as black lion tamarins and poison arrow frogs! Your class can even contribute their own finding to the Bank Street Animal database.
Desert USA: Desert Animals
A desert may look deserted, but the truth of the matter is that it's really teeming with animal life. Most of the animals have special adaptations to survive the harsh conditions. Check out this site for the inside story on creatures of the desert. From mountain lions to kangaroo rats, desert animals are divine!
Arctic Wildlife Portfolio
This site offers a great overview about arctic animals and how they are adapted to the extreme conditions found in polar regions. It's well worth a look if you want to learn about some really "cool" animals.