Adaptation and the Found Object Feeders

Length: 6 Blocks

The Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission engaged two internationally-known artists, Thornton Dial and Lonnie Holley, to create site-specific public art works for the newly revitalized Edmondson Park (overseen by the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency). This project honors William Edmondson, a native of Davidson County and a self-taught sculptor. Edmondson was the first African American artist to have a solo exhibition at the New York Museum of Modern Art (1937). Like Edmondson, Thornton Dial and Lonnie Holley are self-taught artists.

In this Science Lesson, students will,

  • identify adaptations 
  • classify those adaptations as behavioral, anatomical or physiological
  • describe how those adaptations contribute to the survival of that organism

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to the precise details of explanations or descriptions.
Assess the extent to which the reasoning and evidence in a text support the author's claim or a recommendation for solving a scientific or...
Write arguments focused on discipline-specific content.
CLE 3210.5.1
Associate structural, functional, and behavioral adaptations with the ability of organisms to survive under various environmental conditions.
CLE 3210.T/E.2
Differentiate among elements of the engineering design cycle: design constraints, model building, testing, evaluating, modifying, and retesting.
SPI 3210.5.1
Compare and contrast the structural, functional, and behavioral adaptations of animals or plants found in different environments.
SPI 3210.5.2
Recognize the relationship between form and function in living things.
SPI 3210.T/E.2
Evaluate a protocol to determine the degree to which an engineering design process was successfully applied.
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
Learning objectives: 

Clear Learning Targets:

  • Given written descriptions of an organism’s natural history, I can identify adaptations, classify those adaptations as behavioral, anatomical or physiological and describe how those adaptations contribute to the survival of that organism.
  • I can use the design cycle to create a bird feeder that caters to the functional, structural and behavioral adaptations of an assigned group of birds from Davidson County, TN.
  • I can discuss the themes of “struggle” and “adaptation” within the context of science, and the life of artist Lonnie Holley.

Task Objectives (steps to reach mastery of clear learning targets):
Summative I:

  • “What is Adaptation?” Guided Investigation
  • Adaptation Card Cooperative Activity
  • African Article Annotation
  • Environmental Disturbance Poster
  • Organism Adaptability Argument

Summative II:

  • Project Research Session (Library)
  • Design cycle posters
  • Poster Gallery Walk
  • Feeder building
Essential and guiding questions: 

Questioning: Planning to Illuminate Student Thinking:
Assessing questions:

  • What is one adaptation of __________ (from cards)? What type of adaptation is it? How does this adaptation help the organism survive its environment?
  • What are the feeding needs of __________ (bird)? How will the bird interact with the feeder to get food? How will you test the feeder? How are we selecting for certain birds with our feeder?

Advancing questions:

  • Are all members of a population successful in adapting and surviving? Give a situation in which some members of a species are better at adapting than others. Why is this? Where does this advantage come from?

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Differentiation suggestions: 

Scaffolding opportunities (to address learning challenges):

  • Adaptation Card Activity:
    • Students will work in cooperative groups.
    • Each student will be given an opportunity to respond to a description.
    • Group members can discuss and strengthen responses so all students understand the activity.
    • Descriptions will be read out loud in cooperative groups.
    • Classifications, evidence and conclusions will be placed into charts.
  • Students will have access to highlighters to isolate key information.
  • Students will write reflections to isolate strengths and weaknesses with material.
  • The teacher will facilitate discussions and cooperative grouping to guide students with questions
  • and feedback.
  • Students are heterogeneously grouped.
  • Students will receive feedback on writing and will have opportunities to correct answers.
  • Students will receive feedback on model plans from the teacher and the group.
  • Students will have opportunities to view other student plans to help with their own.

Opportunities to Differentiate Learning (explain how you address particular student needs by differentiating process, content, or product):

  • Student writing and models will be graded on a rubric which will be handed out in advance. The teacher may plan to differentiate this rubric, based on student abilities.
  • Students will receive feedback on writing and will have opportunities to correct answers.
  • Students will work in groups and the teacher may choose to group students based on ability levels.
  • Students will receive feedback on model plans from the teacher and the group.

Helpful Hints

Materials and Resources:
Internet Resources: