Today we continued our lesson on how animals that live in extreme environments have adaptations, or special characteristics, that help them survive and remain safe within those environments. During this lesson, we focused on the desert and how some animals that live there manage to live.
We started with a review of our last lesson. I asked Joey if he could remember what “animal adaptations” means?
SPECIAL CHARACTERISTICS THAT HELP THEM SURVIVE
What is specific to animals that live in the arctic that allows them to survive in those conditions?
REALLY ARCTIC ANIMALS IN THE ICE AND SNOW HAVE FAT AND THICK FUR
I told Joey that today we would be focusing on a climate that is more or less the opposite of the arctic, and asked Joey if he could guess what that is?
MIGHT IT HAVE SAND AND HEAT AND BE NAMED THE DESERT?
I then picked three key words (sand, heat, desert) out of the sentence Joey just wrote, and asked him to hold the letter board for himself while spelling the words.
With the word “sand”, Joey did a particularly good job of holding out his pointer finger about an inch from the board, scanning the letters, and only touching the board when he found the right letter.
I mentioned that in addition to extreme heat, and all of the sand, what makes the desert particularly difficult to survive in is it’s lack of water. So, animals that live in the desert need to have a natural ability to not drink much of any water, or to be able to go for long stretches without drinking at all.
YOU WON’T MAKE IT VERY FAR IN THE DESERT WITHOUT WATER
I then handed Joey the letter board to hold for himself and asked him to tell me what is very scarce in the desert?
I mentioned that there was an animal that you often see in movies about the desert. I gave Joey the hint that people ride on them, but they are not horses. I asked if he had any guesses?
ANTS? WON’T YOU TELL ME?
I explained that the animal I was thinking of is called a camel, and asked Joey if he was familiar with what a camel looks like?
YES THEY HAVE HUMPS ON THE BACK
After having Joey hold the letter board for himself and spell camel, I then examined that the camel could walk great distances in the desert without water because they store water in this large hump, which is their natural adaptation that allows them to stay hydrated for long periods of time.
We also discussed other animals that live in the desert, namely lizards and gerbils. I mentioned that lizards are reptiles, and they have very dry and scaly skin, and their bodies don’t require much water. I had Joey spell “reptile” while holding the letter board for himself. Then he wrote:
HOT TO SCURRY ON THE SAND FOR THOSE WITH SHORT LEGS
I agreed and mentioned that for the hottest time of the day both lizards and gerbils hide in holes and beat the heat that way. Once it becomes evening, they can emerge from their holes. I then had Joey spell “hole” and “emerge” while holding the letter board for himself, then I held it for him and he wrote:
THE HOLES SHELTER THEM AT THE HOTTEST TIMES
For the last few minutes of our session, I allowed Joey to write about anything that was on his mind. Here is what he came up with:
RADICAL TIMES ON THE MOUNTAIN TOTALLY WAIT AHEAD AND BECCON
THE NEXT HAT I NEED MUST MATCH MY JOEY JACKET
YOU KNOW THIS TIME IN THE STORE RADIO* I WILL TELL YOU WHICH ONE I WANT
EASY TO TELL ME APART EACH TIME I SNOW SHRED PAST LIKE A BLUR
*Radio is the name of Joey’s favorite snowboarding shop in Aspen