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Animal Characteristics are Related to Environments

Animal Characteristics are Related to Environments

TEKS Objective

The student is expected to investigate how the external characteristics of an animal are related to where it lives, how it moves, and what it eats.

Essential Understanding

The student knows that organisms resemble their parents and have structures and processes that help them survive within their environments.

Science Background

Arctic Adaptations: National Park Service (website) - Describes arctic animals and the characteristics that enable them to survive the harsh polar environment are described.

Arctic Adaptations
National Park Service,

Animal Types and Characteristics: Colorado Sate University (website) - A collection of photographs and facts about animal characteristics.

Animal Types and Characteristics
Colorado State University,

Animals: National Geographic Kids (website) - Discover fascinating facts about the characteristics and behaviors of animals. Website includes pictures, videos, maps, and printable pictures with facts.

National Geographic Kids,

Signature Lesson

Animal Adaptations - Animal Disguises: SeaWorld/Busch Gardens (PDF) - Investigate how cryptic coloration helps ocean animals survive with their environments.

Animal Adaptations - Animal Disguises
Sea World/Busch Gardens,

Supporting Lessons

Who Am I? National Geographic (website) - Animals that live in the desert have many different external characteristics. Use this lesson to teach about those characteristics.

Who Am I?
National Geographic,

Habitat: Sierra Club John Muir Study Guide (PDF) – Students learn about the naturalist, John Muir, and select a favorite animal and plant species to illustrate and describe.

Sierra Club John Muir Study Guide,

Elaboration Lessons and Extensions

Fishing Fun! Project Wild - Growing up Wild (PDF) - Children engage in a dramatic play fishing game and learn about fish.

Fishing Fun!
Project Wild - Growing up Wild,

Animal Diversity: Science NetLinks (website) - Observe how the environment may affect the physical characteristics of animals and plants.

Animal Diversity
Science NetLinks,

The Structure of Redworms - Animals Two by Two: FOSSWEB (PDF) - Observe the physical characteristics and behaviors of redworms.  Use No. 14-17 reproducible sheets.

The Structure of Redworms

Assessment Ideas

Give students four pictures of different animals. Have each student identify and explain at least one external characteristic of each animal and discuss how that characteristic helps the animal to live and move.

Literature Connections

Skin, Scales and Shells. Miles, Elizabeth. (ISBN-13: 978-1403404305)

Why Mammals Have Fur. Hinshaw Patent, Dorothy. (ISBN-13: 978-0525651413)

Would You Survive? Townsend, John (ISBN-13: 978-1410919694)

Related Science TEKS

(1.1A) Science Safety
The student is expected to recognize and demonstrate safe practices as described in the Texas Safety Standards during classroom and outdoor investigations, including wearing safety goggles, washing hands, and using materials appropriately.

(1.2A) Ask Questions
The student is expected to ask questions about organisms, objects, and events observed in the natural world.

(1.2B) Plan and Conduct Descriptive Investigations
The student is expected to plan and conduct simple descriptive investigations such as ways objects move.

(1.2C) Collect Data
The student is expected to collect data and make observations using simple equipment such as hand lenses, primary balances, and non-standard measurement tools.

(1.2D) Record and Organize Data & Observations
The student is expected to record and organize data and observations using pictures, numbers, and words.

(1.2E) Communicate Observations
The student is expected to communicate observations with others about simple descriptive investigations.

(1.4A) Tools for Collecting Information
The student is expected to collect information using tools, including computers ,  hand lenses , primary balances, cups, bowls, magnets, collecting nets, and notebooks; timing devices, including clocks and timers; non-standard measuring items such as paper clips and clothespins; weather instruments such as demonstration thermometers and wind socks;  and materials to support observations of habitats of organisms such as terrariums and aquariums.

Related Math TEKS

1.7F     The student is expected to compare and order two or more objects according to weight/mass (from heaviest to lightest).

1.8A    The student is expected to order three or more events according to duration.

1.9A    The student is expected to collect and sort data.

1.9B    The student is expected to use organized data to construct real object graphs, picture graphs, and bar-type graphs.

Additional Resources

Animals on the Deadly 60: National Geographic (website) Discover the characteristics of 60 animals that make them the most dangerous animals in the world.

Animals on the Deadly 60
National Geographic,

Science in the Schoolyard Video (Grade 2 Insects): FOSSWEB (website) - Observe as teachers and students take science outdoors to observe insects. Watch the video by selecting “Grade 2 (Insects).”

Science in the Schoolyard (Grade 2 Insects)

Thermoregulation - Animal Sing Along: SeaWorld/Busch Gardens (PDF) - Through role play and song, students learn about warm and cold-blooded animals and demonstrate the behaviors used to dissipate excess body heat.

Thermoregulation - Animal Sing Along
Sea World/Busch Gardens,

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