Grade: Elementary
Subject: Science

#457. How To Thrive and Survive Anywhere

Science, level: Elementary
Posted Thu Jun 11 12:59:37 PDT 1998 by Patti Lorenzen & Michael Schaffner ( &
North Tama Elementary , Traer, Iowa USA
Materials Required: US Map, Internet access, encyclopedias
Activity Time: 1-2 Weeks
Concepts Taught: State Location & Animal Adaptation


If you were an armadillo, could you survive in Iowa? In this activity you will learn how different animals adapt to their environment. You will be combining your knowledge of state location with animals native to that area.


A. You will be able to identify the location of the 50 states.
B. You will become aware of how state location affects climate.
C. You will find animals native to a specific state.
D. You will identify adaptations unique to that animal and its habitat.
FYI: You will be using several resources: encyclopedias, the Internet, and a blank outline of the
United States.


A. Using the website listed below, identify the location of the 50 states.

1. Choose a partner.
2. Pick up a blank copy of a map of the United States with a blank color bar at the top (numbering 1 - 11).
3. Using a computer, go to

4. Fill in your blank map using the map on your computer.

B. Using the website listed below, learn how state location affects climate.
1. Locate a climate zone map at

2. Color the bar at the top of your map using the bar at this site as a guide.
3. Click on the colors at the top to find the minimum temperature for each zone.
4. Write the minimum temperature below each box for each zone.
5. Using the computer map at this site, color the different zones on your map.
6. Answer the questions on page 2.

Answer the following questions from the information you have gathered.

1. What two zones are located in Iowa? What are the minimum temperatures for both zones in Iowa?

2. What three zones are located in Florida? What are the minimum temperatures for all three zones in Florida?

3. Compare the zones for Iowa and Florida. How are they the same? How are they different?

4. Which states have zone 4 in them? Look carefully! Correct abbreviations for the state may be used.

C. Using an encyclopedia, find one animal native to each climate zone.

1. Choose an animal from the list below, match it with its native state, and write it in.

Zone Color State Animal

Animals to choose from:

shark prairie dog loon white tailed deer

salmon polar bear moose humpback whale

lizard mockingbird gila monster

D. Using the information you have gathered, identify adaptations unique to that animal and its habitat.

1. Choose a bird, an aquatic (water) animal and two other animals of your choice and write them in below
2. Fill in the rest of the columns using your zone map and the information below for references

Animal Minimum Temperature *Body Covering Camouflage

*Body Covering = fur, scales, feathers, skin

Camouflage = blending, countershading, mimicry

Answer the following questions using the chart you have just completed.

1. How does the minimum temperature affect the type of body covering?

2. What type of camouflage was listed most often? Explain how this type of camouflage works.

Challenge Question

Choose an animal.

How does the type of camouflage help protect it from predators?


Use of rubrics to evaluate student maps, charts and answers to questions.


After you have completed this lesson, you will be aware of the different climate zones and their locations in the United States. You will also be able to name an animal that is native to a specific climate zone. Each of you will become familiar with different types of body covering and camouflage that these animals use.

Extended Learning Opportunities

To learn more about mimicry, camouflage, and other animal adaptations, try these web sites. Choose one of the web sites to evaluate. To do this, use the evaluation form on page 7 to decide if it is a good website.


Critical Evaluation of a Web Site: Elementary School Level

1. How are you hooked to the Internet? ___computer and modem ___ direct connection at school

2. What web browser are you using? ___Netscape ___Internet Explorer

3. What is the URL of the Web page you are looking at?________________________________________

4. What is the name of the site?___________________________________________________________

How Does It Look? Circle your answer.

5. Does the page take a long time to load? YES NO

6. Are there big pictures on the page? YES NO

7. Is there a picture on the page that you can use to choose links? YES NO

8. If you go to another page, is there a way to get back to the first page? YES NO

9. Do the photographs look real? YES NO NO PHOTOGRAPHS

10. Do the sounds sound real? YES NO NO SOUNDS

What Did You Learn?

11. Does the title of the page tell you what it is about? YES NO

12. Are the facts on the page what you were looking for? YES NO

13. Would you have gotten more information from the encyclopedia? YES NO

14. Would the information have been better in the encyclopedia? YES NO

15. Write a sentence telling why this Website is or is not helpful for this assignment.

adapted from Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators