Dirtmeister's Science Reporters

Investigate and Report on Animal Adaptations
Greetings, science snoopers! I challenge you to investigate animal adaptation, the ways that animals "adapt" develop certain traits and behaviors over time to suit their environment. Your mission is to select one animal preferably one found in your local area and report on the ways it is adapted to its environment. Let's begin by investigating the facts.

1. Investigate the Facts
When people hear the word adapt, one of the first things that comes to mind is "fitting in." People are always having to adapt or change to different situations or places.

For animals, including people, adaptation is often a matter of life or death! If they don't adapt in certain ways to their surroundings, they will not survive. Humans even use technology to adapt. Think of the space suits used by astronauts to control their temperature and for breathing so they can survive space travel.

Technology may be okay for humans to use, but for the rest of the animals in the world, adaptation means having certain body parts or behaviors that allow the animals to survive and thrive in their environments.

Got the idea? Then you're ready to observe and record. 

Dirtmeister
Learn more about:
Animal Adaptations
There are countless examples of animal adaptations in the world. Here are a few examples.Sharks: Body Parts
Foxes: Camouflage
Raccoons: Behavior
Bears: Hibernation



 
 
 
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2. Observe & Record
Find and report on the ways that one animal preferably one found in your local area is adapted to its environment. Then print out this page and answer the questions below. When you're done filling in this form, write your report.
Animal Adaptations Observation Sheet Your Name: _______________________

1. What animal did you select?



2. What special adaptations does the animal have to help it succeed in its environment?





3. Are the adaptations a physical part of the animal? Or, are the adaptations more of a behavior that the animal uses?





4. If this animal didn't have these adaptations, what problems might it face?





5. Do other animals in this environment have similar adaptations? Which animals?






 
 
 
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3. Report Your Findings
Are you ready to write about your findings about the ways that the animal youve chosen demonstrates animal adaptations? Before you finish your report, you may want to review my notes from Investigate the Facts about the various ways that animals adapt to their surroundings. Compare your notes with my examples. Once you've completed your investigations, write about your findings! 
Report Your Findings Your Name: _______________________

1. What animal did you select? (For example: Squirrel)


Answer the following questions with complete sentences and combine them into a paragraph.

2. What special adaptations does the animal have to help it succeed in its enviroment?
3. Are the adaptations a physical part of the animal, or are the adaptations more of a behavior that the animal uses?
4. If this animal didn't have these adaptations, what problems might it face?
5. Do other animals in this enviroment have similar adaptations? Which animals?
































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4. Read Kids' Reports
Kids around the country are getting the dirt on animal adaptations. Check out some examples of what they've found. How do their findings compare to yours? 
Raccoon
Andy W., Grade 4, NC

This animal has sharp claws to climb tall trees. Its black marks under its eyes are probably for blocking out the sun. They are also for camouflage against its enemies. These uses are mostly physical. If the raccoon did not have its sharp claws it could not climb trees and cover for protection. If it did not have its black marks for camouflage it could not hunt as easy. Many other animals have similar adaptations. For example: squirrels, and opossums.

White Tailed Deer
Aubrie P., Grade 2, IL

The female white tailed deer raises its tail up in the air to signal the fawn of danger. The mother also stamps her foot to signal her fawn. These adaptations are behavioral. The fawns could get eaten and die out because they can't run that fast when they are just born. Squirrels signal danger to other squirrels by chattering.

Beaver
Daniel P., Grade 3, NY

The beaver is well adapted to life in the water. Its special tail helps it to swim and its thick coat of fur keeps the beaver warm in cold water. These adaptations are physical because the beaver did not learn these adaptations, it was born with them. The problems the beaver might face without these adaptations are freezing to death in cold water and being caught by a predator if it could not swim. The muskrat has similar adaptations because both animals have a thick coat of fur and they also build dome shaped homes in the water to be safe from predators.

Cardinal
Gabe & Joe, Grade 2, MI

The cardinal's special adaptation is its beak which it uses to break up food. The adaptation is both a physical part and a behavior. It's physical because you can see it and feel it, and it's a behavior because it uses it to eat. It could not eat and it might not be able to fight its predators. A Chickadee and other birds have beaks.

Squirrel
Maria L., Grade 3, KY

The squirrel has claws to climb trees and to grasp things, the squirrel has teeth to crack open nuts, and whenever a person tries to catch a squirrel, the squirrel scampers up a tree. The adaptations of my animal are physical and behavior because claws and teeth are physical and scampering up a tree is a part of behavior to the squirrel. If the squirrel didn't have claws, the squirrel couldn't climb trees, crack open nuts or grasp things, and if the squirrel didn't have teeth the squirrel couldn't eat. The squirrel might face problems like being caught by other animals, and people would catch squirrels and kill them and then the squirrels might become endangered or extinct. Yes, the beaver has similar adaptations to the squirrel.