Teaching sequence

Lesson objective

In this lesson students develop an understanding of the physical conditions of environments and how plant and animal adaptations vary between environments.


Revisit the list of environments and adaptations generated in Lesson 1.

Introduce the term ‘physical conditions’ and ask for suggestions about what this might mean in relation to different environments.

As a class, generate a list of the physical conditions for two different environments such as desert and polar regions. Discuss how these physical conditions impact on the plants and animals living within these very different environments. Ask the students what would happen if the environment in which these plants and animals lived changed in some way. What if the polar regions got warmer? What if there was consistently more rain in a desert region?

Provide students with the time to create their own creature for an environment of their choice using the learning object Create a creature. Ask the students to share with the class the features of their creature and the physical environment in which they think the creature will survive best.


  1. Explain to the students that they are going to research how an adaptation can vary depending on the physical conditions of the environment in which an animal or plant lives. They will then display their research to the class.
  2. Distribute the worksheet Plant and animal adaptations: research task to the students. Ask students to select a topic to research.
  3. Read through, and further explain if necessary, the ‘Questions to answer’ on the worksheet with the students. Explain your expectations for the outcomes of the task.
  4. Provide students with the time necessary to successfully research their topic and develop their presentation


Provide students with the opportunity to share their research by displaying the work around the classroom and provide time for students to move around the room and view the work of others.

Ask students to record four key points from their research that they believe are important for other people to know. Share these key points during a class discussion.

Lesson Resources


Student activities

Digital resources

L755 Create a creature, NDLRN 


Plant and animal adaptations: research task (Word, 739 KB)

Useful links

Animal and plant adaptations and behaviours, BBC Nature. Information for students

Biology of plants: plant adaptations, MBGnet. Images and information on different biomes 

Biomes – living worlds. Desert plant adaptations, Oracle ThinkQuest. Information for teachers 

Desert biome, kidcyber. Information and images for students. (Updated 16 December, 2016)

11 animals that use camouflage, Animal Planet. Images and information 

It’s for the birds? Biology Junction. Bird adaptations lesson 

Museum experts’ videos: animal adaptations, Queensland Museum. Documentaries on animal adaptations 

Plant and animal adaptations to the desert, Pima Community College, Arizona. Images and information