Honolulu Zoo Society : Biomes

Life- Deal with It (Adapting within a Biome)

Topic Overview

Begin the Lesson

The world's biomes each have a different geography and climate. Biomes also have plants and animals. Each animal and plant has special adaptations to help them live within their home environment. Adaptations help animals eat certain foods, find water in dry conditions, stay warm in cold conditions, hide when hunting during the day, and see better when hunting during the night. Adaptations help plants find sunlight and water, and help ensure their seeds will spread and germinate.

During this WebLesson, we are going to travel the globe and visit different places to see different animals and plants in their home environments and how their individual adaptations help them survive.

Whole Class Introduction to the Lesson

You will need at least one computer with Internet connectivity and a projection device, a classroom with more than one computer, or access to a computer lab.  This introduction will take approximately 10 minutes to complete.

Show students the first segment of this episode about adaptations from  New Hampshire Public television's Natureworks, : http://video.nhptv.org/video/1492015101/

Afterwards, conduct the following class activity:

  • Ask students: What are an animal's basic needs? (food water air and shelter)
  • Ask pairs of students to select an animal (or assign animals). Have students answer: How does this animal's behavior or physical traits help it to fill these needs?
  • What would happen if your animals were moved to another biome? Choose two new biomes and explain the challenges this animal would face and physical or behavior changes that would help it survive in this new environment.
  • Use Dirtmeister's recording forms to collect and share answers. http://teacher.scholastic.com/dirtrep/animal/index.htm

As part of the introduction, you may want to review some of the glossary terms in advance of students going online. At this point you can launch the WebLesson as whole-class activity using a projection device, or you can assign students to work individually or in teams in a computer lab.



WebLesson Sites
Each biome has a certain type of geography and weather. Plants and animals cannot live just anywhere. Can you imagine a cuttlefish living on land? What about a kangaroo bounding through a rainforest? Or a cheetah racing across Antartica's frozen tundra?

Plants and animals have special adaptations (characteristics) that help them to survive and to thrive in certain biomes. In this WebLesson , you will discover how different plants and animals survive where they live.
The local zoo is creating a coloring book to give to students who visit. They would like the coloring book to include a wide range of different plants and animals that live on land and in water. The coloring book must also include each of the worlds major biomes. Unfortunately, the coloring book can only have 10 pictures in it and they are having a difficult time deciding which plants and animals to include in the book and which plants and animals should go together.
Lesson Pages
Animal and Plant Adaptations and Behaviours
Rich Media
Conclusion & Project
Earth hosts a range of environments, from dry and cold to hot and moist. The animals and plants that live in each biome have characteristics and habits that allow them to survive in that place.
You are on the committee that is choosing what plants and animals to include in the Adaptation Coloring Book.

Which five plants and animals do you nominate for the book? Be sure to include land and water life, plants and animals. Briefly explain what adaptations each has and why their adaptation(s) make them remarkable.
aestivation - deep or prolonged sleep during hot or dry periods
condensation - water that collects on a cold surface when warm air hits it
descend - move down
domesticate - tame
dominate - have control over something or someone else
drought - a shortage of water
evolution - heritable change in the structure and behavior of plants and animals over time
exclusive - only
extinct - a species of plant or animal that no longer exists
fluctuate - to rise and fall without a pattern
function - to work in a particular way
germinate - when a seed begins to grow
inhabit - to live in or occupy a specific place
lure - something that tempts someone to do something
nutrients - something that provides nourishment
photosynthesis - the process used by green plants to use energy from the sun to create food from carbon dioxide and salt.
precipitation - snow, rain, sleet, or hail
primarily - mostly
recede - to move back
scansorial - animals that spend much of their life climbing
submerge - under water
survival - the ability to stay alive
tolerant - able to endure a condition
tract - a large area