Adaptations of Arctic Animals

Submitting Organization: WNET New York Public Media

Grade Levels: 6th Grade – 8th Grade

Subject Area: Science

Standards Alignment: Next Generation Science Standards

MS-LS4.C.1 ( Middle School Life Sciences ): Adaptation by natural selection acting over generations is one important process by which species change over time in response to changes in environmental conditions. Traits that support successful survival and reproduction in the new environment become more common; those that do not become less common. Thus, the distribution of traits in a population changes.

Description of the Activity:

Students discuss and are asked questions before watching the video regarding what they know about the arctic region and about their prior knowledge of adaptations. After discussing, students watch a video to learn what animals live in the arctic region and how they have adapted to this inhospitable environment. They answer discussion questions individually, in pairs, or as a class. Then they use a handout to identify the adaptations different arctic animals have and how these adaptations help them survive in extreme temperatures. Afterwards, they can write an essay or have a discussion on how the different animals are interconnected and predict what would happen if the polar bears disappeared from the arctic.

Discussion Questions:

  • Before Viewing:
    • What do you know about the arctic region?
    • Have you ever been in an extremely cold environment? What are some things you did to adapt to the cold?
    • While you watch the video, pay careful attention to the ways arctic animals adapt to their harsh living environment.
  • After Viewing:
    • How is the arctic region described in this video?
    • What animals live in the arctic and what adaptations do they have that allow them to live in this region?
    • Who is the main predator in this video and what allows them to hunt their pray?

Resources Needed: