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Lesson Plans
Animal Adaptations
1st–2nd Grade
  • Explore the relationship between a bird’s beak and its ability to find food and survive.
Materials Needed


  1. Ask students, “Have you ever wondered why a turtle has a hard shell? Or why a chameleon can change colors to match its surroundings?”
  2. Explain that these are two examples of animal adaptations, or ways that animals change in order to survive in their environment.


  1. Tell students that you are going to learn about a variety of animal adaptations and how they help animals survive and thrive.
  2. Give each student a copy of each information card and read “Awesome Adaptations” aloud as students follow along. (You can also invite student volunteers to take turns reading the paragraphs aloud.)
  3. Ask the following questions to allow students to reflect on the passage:
    • What are some ways that animals keep from being eaten by other animals?
    • How is camouflage helpful for certain animals?
  4. Read “A Beak for Every Job” and ask students the following questions:
    • Can you describe the different beaks mentioned in the passage?
    • How are the different types of beaks useful to the different birds? What purposes do they serve?

Guided Practice

  1. Tell students that, as a follow-up to reading “A Beak for Every Job,” they are going to conduct an experiment to determine what kind of beak is best for a particular purpose.
  2. Divide the class into small groups of three or four students. Give each group a plastic tray with a small amount of water, a spoon, a pair of tweezers, an eyedropper, and some plastic worms and fish.
  3. Explain that the tweezers represent a long, sharp beak used for digging and searching through mud; the eyedropper represents a long, thin beak used for sipping flower nectar; and the spoon represents a bucket-like beak used for scooping up fish.
  4. Give each student a copy of the activity card.
  5. Encourage students to work within their groups and take turns following the instructions on the activity card as you read each step aloud.
  6. Instruct students to record their observations in the chart.
  7. Invite students to share and discuss what they learned by conducting the experiment.

View the 1st–2nd Grade lesson plan. (Includes all printable materials.)
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