When trying to explain abstract concepts to youngsters, it really helps to have visuals that complement the verbal descriptions. Here’s a little coloring page that I’ve used for this purpose when considering adaptations to our cold New England winters. The visual icons help youngsters think about – and remember- four basic adaptations that living beings have evolved to endure such winter challenges. Before or after field trips or before, during and after discussions or field trips exploring this topic, you can ask students to draw lines connecting each particular creature to the adaptation that they generally employ. Youngsters can also coloring the pictures or draw a creature surviving winter weather (on the back of the page) if they’re waiting for their friends to finish the assignment. This project can be completed individually or as part of a team effort, and the page can even be used as a learning assessment.
Interestingly, several of the living beings highlighted on the page utilize more than one of the four ‘strategies’ mentioned – depending upon how narrowly such terms as ‘hibernation’ or ‘migration’ are defined, and / or which species is being represented in the drawing. For example, a young wasp queen is dormant through the winter – but a honeybee in a colony will be ‘actively’ maintaining a constant temperature in a cluster within the hive by feeding on stored honey and moving her wing muscles – i. e. shivering. Nature is amazingly complex, and human language has many limitations. You might decide to mention such exceptions and complexities. I think it’s both good and important for children to begin to understand that this is the case.
Here is the PDF for this page: Winter Adaptations EB