Adaptation Game

PURPOSE:  understanding cause and effect, particularly in that animals develop specific adaptations to deal with environmental change


MATERIALS:  possible adaptations, each written on an index card



Divide players into two teams.  Each team numbers off (so that there is a number 1 on both teams, a number 2 on both teams, etc.) and lines up at opposite ends of the playing area.


Cards are placed in the center of the area, and each card lists on it one adaptation an animal might make.  The leader will call out a situation of environmental change that will require an animal to adapt.  Then the leader calls out a number.  The players with that number must run and select a card that fits the situation and return to their team.  They will share the adaptation they each chose with their teams.  Then each team will announce their adaptation and why it is a good choice.


A good follow-up is a discussion on what types of animals already have the adaptation and what may have caused them to adapt.


*For a more knowledgeable group, you may wish to allow them to come up with their own adaptations rather than select them.  A white board (or paper) and a marker can be kept with each group, and they must race to the middle with a possible adaptation.


Environmental Changes:

Your predators begin to run faster than you can.

The plants you eat become extinct.

Other animals learn to find and eat your eggs.

A plague sweeps the forest.

A world-wide plague erupts.

An ice age occurs.

Farmers use chemicals that are killing you.

Your predators become difficult to see.

The oceans dry up.

The temperatures become extremely cold.

Your food supply becomes seasonal.

The animals you eat develop armor.


Possible Adaptations (to be written on index cards):

Learn to sleep during the day and hunt at night.

Develop better night vision.


Lay camouflaged eggs.

Develop lungs for breathing.

Develop armor.

Your home turns into a desert.

Build up an immunity to chemicals.

Find a home in the meadow and learn to eat grass.

Learn to store food.

Build an underground home.

Develop new teeth and digestive system which allow you to change your diet.

Incubate eggs within the body as mammals do.

Grow fangs.

Grow fur.

Develop longer legs.

Become warm-blooded.

Change fins to legs.

Become immune to the plague.

Develop claws for climbing trees.


Grow quills.

Develop a sharper sense of smell.

Become camouflaged.

Develop a way to store water in your body.