ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Animal Adaptation Science Projects for Third Grade

Updated on August 1, 2012

Our school has recently been teaching animal adaptations to our third graders. There are five types of adaptations that we focused on: climate, protection, eating, movement/migration and caring for young.

Today I will be sharing the types of experiments we did for how animals adapt to their climate. These experiments are easy to follow and lots of fun to do!

Elephant Ears: Elephants have large ears that help to keep them cool. They have many blood vessels throughout their ears. As they flap and fan their ears, they are better able to cool themselves down. For this experiments you will need Post-It Notes and Index Cards.

I had my group of students break into pairs. One partner received a Post-It note, the other received the Index card. I showed them a short clip of elephants using their ears from youtube.

I told them they would get to practice being an elephant today. I went around and placed a drop of water on the back of each student's non-dominant hand. They had to fan their drop with their Post-It or Index Card. You will likely hear several groans from the Post-It friends as they realize how unbalanced this task is! After a group has finished, have them switch their materials and repeat. We wrapped up by discussing how the size of the elephant's ears help to cool it down better than if their ears were small.

A Cozy Cup I filled three cups with an equal amount of tap water. I placed an outdoor thermometer into each cup (warning they are NOT all waterproof! I protected mine with a ziploc bag). Then, we discussed different animal body coverings. I purchased feathers from a local craft store. I used saran wrap to securely wrap one cup in feathers. I also purchased a pair of white fuzzy socks from Target to be our "fur". I covered the cup and protected with saran wrap. Finally, we discussed skin. I am not a big fan of leather, although this would work well. Instead, I used what was available-wax paper. I protected that with the saran wrap and secured with a rubber band. The saran wrap is VITAL to this process. If the materials get wet, the temperature difference is not as drastic.

I placed the three cups in a dish and packed around them with ice. Finally, I filled the tin to the top with water. (Ice water works much better than plain ice to make a fast temperature change). We checked the temperatures after 5, 10, and 20 minutes. These were our final results: fur 690 F, feathers 620 F and skin 580 F. Your results may vary depending on classroom temperature, materials used, etc. Practice this at home first.

Duck Oil Ducks use oil to protect their feathers and better suit them for life on the water. I use three clear plastic cups filled with equal amounts of room-temperature water. I start off by holding a cotton ball and explaining that this represents a duck and its feathers. I ask students what would happen if the duck swam in the water and its feathers were dry. After a few suggestions (typically students say it would swim or use its feet to paddle), I drop the cotton ball in the water and watch it sink. I explain that the ducks feathers would eventually become too filled with water and heavy.

I pull out a second cotton ball and move to the next cup. I explain that a duck has a special body part that takes the oil from the food it eats so that the duck can use it. I place the "duck" in the oil halfway and explain that it makes sense to coat the bottom feathers because that's the part in water. I ask students what they think will happen. Before placing the cotton ball in the 2nd cup, I remind students that the dry part is the head and the oil part is the bottom. When you place the cotton ball in the water, the cotton ball *should* flip so the oil side is facing up. Ask students what happened. Guide them to see that the head is now under water and this could cause severe problems for our friend the duck!

Ask students for suggestions on what to do. One will inevitably suggest dunking the whole cotton ball in oil. Do just this. Plop the cotton ball in and voila it floats! This one got a lot of giggles and a few parents told me that students demonstrated this for them at dinner that night!

Blubber Mittens This was my favorite experiment! Prior to the lesson, I prepared a ziploc bag (quart size) by filling it with Crisco. I then stuck another ziploc bag (quart size) inside of it and made sure the Crisco was distributed around evenly. This kept our friends clean during the experiment.

I filled a sand pail with ice water. Students were given a "blubber mitten" and a "skin mitten" (plain ziploc bag). They were to dunk both hands in the bucket at the same time and note the difference. You should have heard the giggles and squeals! Then, have students switch the "mittens" so that they can firmly attribute the temperature difference to the blubber. Even days later, my students were asking if they could try it again!

My students are STILL talking about these great experiments! They are tons of fun and really give a concrete example of how an animal adapts to its environment!

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile imageAUTHOR

      Lindsay Steele 

      6 years ago

      Hi Cellenburg! I apologize for not being clear!

      I used clear plastic cups.

      For the fur, I took the clear plastic cup and stuck it in the "fur" (fuzzy sock). I covered that with a large piece of saran wrap to a) keep it dry and b)keep it constant between the different materials.

      For the feathers, I placed the cup on a large piece of saran wrap. I surrounded the cup with feathers. I then lifted up the edges of the saran wrap to form a protective wrap around the cup to keep it dry. I secured with a rubber band.

      Hope that cleared it up!

    • profile image

      cellenburg 

      6 years ago

      I am interested in conducting your "cozy cup" experiment for Animal Adaptations and I have a question. When you say you covered the feathers and "fur" in saran wrap, do you mean you covered the cup in saran wrap first and then affixed the feathers and fur to the outside of the saran wrap, or do you mean you put the saran wrap on the outside of the feathers and fur? I'm having a hard time picturing in my mind what you mean. Also, what kind of cups did you use?

    • profile imageAUTHOR

      Lindsay Steele 

      7 years ago

      Thanks Sherry! I must admit, it was a pretty good time :) Your grandkids would love it, too!

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 

      7 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      What fun! I wish I had been in your class. These would be great to try out with kids a home. Thanks for sharing.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)