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  • Writer's pictureSaresha Zentner

Animal Adaptations: A Project Based Learning Experience

Are you searching for that perfect Animal Adaptations lesson plan? Have you heard of Project Based Learning? Look no further!PBL is a student engagement tool where teachers plan out educational experiences in a inquiry-based project.

Right now, my students are working their way through an Animal Adaptations PBL experience that I have planned. I can’t wait to tell you more about it!

The first part of any PBL experience is posing a complex, real world question or problem to students.

My challenge was for students to become an expert on an animal in order to teach about this animal to our Kindergarten buddies. This is meaningful and real to my students because they know that Kindergarten students need to learn about animals and their habitats. We also talked about how there aren’t a lot of fun, engaging picture books that accomplish this purpose.

After we talk about the project, students are eager and ready to learn. The next few days, we dig into structural adaptations vs behavioral adaptations that animals have. They take notes that will help them recognize and write about adaptations in their story.

The next step in the PBL is for students to research. I have found that research is difficult for students at this age, so I share safe, reliable research websites with them such as the San Diego Zoo site and National Geographic Kids. I also give them a place to record their research notes.

Now, students are ready to start thinking about their stories. I have them plan out their characters, as well as the plot of their story.

Then, I have them plan out each page of their story. There’s nothing worse than starting to work on the final project and making a mistake because you didn’t plan it out.

I have my students write their stories in those cute little blank books from the Target Dollar spot. You can even find them online, here. We do look at picture books and notice the formatting, picture choices, and font choices.

It is so fun to see the final projects and to finally share their hard work with the kindergarten students. My class always is so proud of their work and they feel like published authors at the end of it.

This project does take some time commitment, but in my eyes, it’s well worth it. We focus on art standards, writing standards, and science standards in this project. We also practice reading fluency when reading them to another class. It also builds school community.

If you are interested, you can buy this project based learning experience here. All of the pages shown above are included as well as everything you need to carry out this project in your own classroom. I teach fourth grade, but this project could be modified in a 3rd grade or 5th grade classroom.

Edit: 9/2020

This resource now includes Google Drive access to all of the student documents as well as the Teacher Presentation! This can be used for Distance Learning or Hybrid Learning Science!

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