Adaptations

How do animals cope with extreme temperatures or defend themselves from predators? In Adaptations, students will be led through the immersive Rainforest Life exhibit to the Discovery Zone classroom, where they will consider what adaptations are and how they arise through the process of natural section. They will then have an opportunity to see real animal adaptations for feeding, avoiding predation, movement, extreme climate and nocturnal life, by investigating a selection of real animal skins and artefacts. Finally they will meet a live animal and find out how it is perfectly adapted for survival in its habitat.
 
adaptations example image
 

Age group:  Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 (KS3 and 4, Ages 11–16)

Duration: 50 minutes

Capacity: 35 students

Learning Space: Rainforest Life classroom (map ref E2)

 

National Curriculum links:

 

KS3 Science - programme of study (2014)

 

Working scientifically

Analysis and evaluation

  • interpret observations and data, including identifying patterns and using observations, measurements and data to draw conclusions

 

Biology

Genetics and evolution

Inheritance, chromosomes, DNA and genes

  • the variation between species and between individuals of the same species meaning some organisms compete more successfully, which can drive natural selection

Interactions and interdependencies

Relationships in an ecosystem

  • the interdependence of organisms in an ecosystem, including food webs and insect pollinated crops

 

GCSE Exam Board Syallbi links:

 

AQA

OCR

Edexcel

AQA Biology and Science A (2014)

 

B1.4 Interdependence and Adaptation

  • suggest how organisms are adapted to the conditions in which they live
  • observe the adaptations, e.g. body shape, of a range of organisms from different habitats

  • develop an understanding of the ways in which adaptations enable organisms to survive

 

B1.4.1. Adaptations

d) Organisms have features that enable them to survive in the conditions in which they normally live.

f) Animals and plants may be adapted for survival in the conditions where they normally live, e.g. deserts, the Arctic.

g) Animals and plants may be adapted to cope with specific features of their environment

 

B1.4.2. Environmental Change

 a) Changes in the environment affect the distribution of living organisms

OCR GCSE Biology A (2014)

 

3.4.3 Module B3:  Life on Earth

B3.2.3. understand that there is variation between individuals of the same species and that some of this variation is genetic so can be passed on to offspring

 

 

OCR GCSE Biology B (2014)

 

Module B2:  Understanding Our Environment

Item B2e: Adaptations

  • Explain how adaptations to cold, hot and dry environments help organisms to survive

  • Explain how animals and plants that are adapted to an environment are better able to compete for limited resources.

Item B2f: Natural Selection

Understand Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection

Edexcel GCSE in Biology 2BIO1

 

Unit B1: Influences on life

Topic 1:  Classification, variation and inheritance

1.11 Explain how organisms are adapted to their environment and how some organisms have characteristics that enable them to survive in extreme environments, including deep-sea hydrothermal vents and polar regions

1.12a Variation – most populations of organisms contain individuals which vary slightly from one to another

1.16b Environmental variation – different characteristics caused by an organism’s environment

 

Intended learning outcomes:

 

Students will be able to:

Define an animal adaptatioas a feature that allows the animal to survive in a given habitat

  • Gain an understanding that some adaptations can be physical and some behavioural and be able to name 2 examples of each
  • Recognise that all species show variation, and that adaptations come about over time by the process of evolution by natural selection
  • Identify adaptations on real animal specimens and discuss how these help the animal to survive in its habitat

The objects from the natural world that are used in this session are loaned to us by HM Revenue and Customs.

Please be aware that though we aim to use a live animal in this session, we do not guarantee that they will be present – animals can fall ill or be unwilling to be handled and their welfare is ZSL’s first priority.

 

For this session:

 
 
Before your visit
  • Pupils are assigned animals to research which are particularly well adapted for either feeding, avoiding predation, movement, extreme climate or nocturnal life. They must identify at least one adaptation which helps the animal with this aspect of survival, and find out more about how this feature helps the animals live in its habitat.

 

While at the Zoo:

  • The worksheet found here: Adaptions Worksheet (160.58 KB) encourages pupils to observe adaptations in the zoo animals.
  • The table below suggests some animals at the Zoo with interesting adaptations to observe:

 

Animal

Adaptation

Location (map ref.)

Bats

Echolocation used to find food in the dark

 Night Life (F3)

Peacocks

Tail feathers used by male in display

 Snowdon Aviary (G2)

Hunting dogs

Adaptations for hunting, including forward-facing eyes

 Into Africa (H2)

Okapi

Long tongue for feeding, side-facing eyes to spot predators

 Into Africa (I3)

Amphibians and

reptiles

Some are camouflaged, others show warning colours and patterns

Reptile House (F4)

 

After your visit:

  • Pupils choose one animal which they have seen at the Zoo and list its adaptations for feeding, avoiding predation, movement, extreme climate or nocturnal life. They can then select one feature and think about how it might have evolved by natural selection.