Pass out the Adaptation Worksheet and break into groups of three or four. The worksheet guides students in exploring adaptations that might be useful to mammals in a marine environment. Read the directions to students and help with any questions they have.
- Column 1 of the worksheet asks students to list the artificial adaptations (equipment) that snorklers and scuba divers use when they go into the ocean. (Many English learners will recognize the equipment used by snorklers and scuba divers, but will not know the English words for them.)
- Column 2 asks students to describe how the equipment helps in the water.
- Column 3 asks students to suggest a biological adaptation that could serve the same function as the piece of equipment they listed in column 2.
- Column 4 asks students to explain how the adaptation might make life more difficult on land.
Students can easily develop the misconception that freewill or intention is somehow responsible for evolutionary adaptations. Stress that the adaptive changes that take place are due to random changes in the genes of the animals and have nothing to do with what an animal wants. Changes that make it easier for an animal to survive and reproduce stay in a population. Negative changes are removed due to death or the survival of fewer offspring. Animals don’t have the luxury of making a list of beneficial adaptations like the students are doing in this exercise. Have students print or send digital worksheets, or collect paper worksheets from groups.
- Click forward to the Post Assessment