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Elementary Science Education

Theme of Lesson–Survival Depends on Adaptation

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      Bernard Nebel
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      Lead to students to explore and identify the various ways an animal or plant must be adapted to survive and reproduce in a particular area. They are:

      1. It must be able to cope with all the weather conditions that may occur throughout the year.
      2. It must be able to obtain adequate food/nutrients and light in the case of plants.
      3. It must be able to resist or protect itself from being eaten predators. This includes insects and disease causing organisms.
      4. It must be able to move from one location to another. In plants this accomplished by seed dispersal.
      5. If must be able to find mates and reproduce to assure a next generation; pollination in the case of plants.

      Students should conclude: If an animal/plant is not suffeciently well adapted in any of these respects, it will not survive or, at least, it will not leave offspring for another generation. Note that this does not mean that every member of the species must survive; it only requires that enough members survive to produce another generation.

      Have students consider different regions of the world and the weather conditions of different climates that prevail in those regions. Further find and consider the kinds of plants and animals that live there and consider how they are adapted to the weather conditions of those climates. Go on to consider how given plants and animals of the region are adapted in the other respects listed.

      The following site provides a world map showing the distribution of major biomes (major kinds of ecosystems). Clicking on a biome will pull up information regarding the climate, landscape pictures, and pictures of dominant plants and animals. (It will require the parent’s/teacher’s help in reading and interpretation.) Guide students in discussing how particular plants and animals are adapted the climate and to each other in the various respects noted. Please post questions and comments.

      http://w3.marietta.edu/~biol/biomes/biomes.htm

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