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Adaptation Lesson Plan

Author: Ashley Boyack

Year: 2015

Artform: Dance

Subjects: Science

Grade: 3rd and 5th

Duration: 45 minute lesson

Overview: Language Objective: STW understand the term ADAPTATION
Content Objective: STWBAT express through movement how sea horses (sea dragons) adapted to their environment.

Standards and Objectives

a. Explore axial movements of reaching, stretching, bending, twisting, turning, and balancing.

b. Review and demonstrate basic locomotor steps: walk, run, hop, jump, leap, skip, slide, and gallop. Explore leading and following another person’s movement. Create your own movement.
a. Describe how a particular physical attribute may provide an advantage for survival in one environment but not in another (e.g., heavy fur in arctic climates keep animals warm whereas in hot desert climates it would cause overheating; flippers on such animals as sea lions and seals provide excellent swimming structures in the water but become clumsy and awkward on land; cacti retain the right amount of water in arid regions but would develop root rot in a more temperate region; fish gills have the ability to absorb oxygen in water but not on land).

b. Research a specific plant or animal and report how specific physical attributes provide an advantage for survival in a specific environment
STW understand the term ADAPTATION

STWBAT express through movement how sea horses (sea dragons) adapted to their environment.



Experience/ Identify: Students will begin by doing a silent warm up following me exactly as I move. They will explore isolating head, shoulders, arms, feet, legs, and then axial movements of the torso. I will then ask students who would like to come up and lead to come up and be the leader.


I will then pair up students to explore this activity. One person leads the other person follows. Use the term CAMOUFLAGE to express what the students are exploring. One person is camouflaging himself by doing exactly what the other is doing.

Next: To explore locomotor movements ask the students to move the following movements through space: Dart, Leap, jump, wide, open close, expand.

Now in place explore Sway, stretch, reach.

Last through space explore High/ low, smooth, curling, float.


Create and Perform: Explain that the above words could also describe how a seahorse, seaweed and sharks might move. As a class decide which list of words goes with which item. create a graphic organizer for the following information.

Explain that a long time ago seahorses were getting eaten by prey such as sharks and other fishes. In order for them to survive they took shelter camouflaging in the sea weed. Over time some of the sea horse species adapted by growing arms and legs like the sea weed and became sea dragons.

Show PICTURE: show a picture of a sea dragon.

Students will now be separated into 3 groups: seaweed, seahorses and sharks. The seaweed spreads out on the floor and the sea dragons are on one side of the room the sharks on the other.

Seaweed begins by staying in one place moving the words of the graphic organizer students have created for the seaweed. When you say “enter” the sea horses enter the space using the words in the graphic organizer that you have made. Students may add more movement quality words if they wish.

When you say camouflage the sea horses hide behind the sea weed doing exactly what the sea weed partner is doing. When you say predator, then the Sharks enter. They show a drastic change in energy from the seaweed and sea horses. They move east and west or north and south only. (so there is no bumping)

Last the predators leave and the seahorses can again move freely. Students love rotating and getting the opportunity to try each of the three parts.


Connect/ Analyze: Ask students if they can think of other animals that have adapted in their environment. Discuss how animals in the forest are adapting to living in the city, or are they adapting?

In what ways do humans adapt to their environment?
How did the sea horse adapt to meet its environment?
  • Camouflage
  • Adapt
  • Sea horse
  • Sea dragon
Discuss how animals in the forest are adapting to living in the city, or are they adapting?

How do humans adapt in there environment?
Give students a part: sea horse, sea dragon, seaweed. Then practice each part just as you did it in class and use it as an informance.

You might add ways that humans adapt as well. Such as how we dress. our behavior, how we talk, walk. How does your teacher change your behavior to meet the needs of your classroom? Do you raise your hand? What about school rules?

Create movements to go with each of the ideas your class came up with and create a sequence with them. May be your class can find another animal that has adapted and create another sequence based on how that animal adapted


  • Drum
  • Pictures of sea horses and sea dragons