Out Teach
Life Science
Material Type:
Upper Primary
  • Activities
  • Adaptations
  • Life Sciences
  • Needs of Organisms
  • Plants
  • Science
  • Structure and Function
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
    Media Formats:

    Education Standards

    Adaptations - Out Teach

    Adaptations - Out Teach


    This is a distance-learning lesson students can complete at home.

    Students will use knowledge of adaptations to compare the structures and functions of plants. These likenesses are passed down between parent plants and their offspring.

    This activity was created by Out Teach (, a nonprofit providing outdoor experiential learning to transform Science education for students in under-served communities. .


    Out Teach logo

    This is one of Out Teach's outdoor lessons, and we always want to make sure students are safe and responsible when you go outside to learn. Before starting this lesson, ask a grown-up if you can go outside and let them know where you plan to be. Get a grown-up's permission before starting this lesson.  You may need to wait for another time to do this lesson safely. Have your grown-up read through this lesson with you and think about the best way to do it. Everyone's situation is going to be different and that's okay.  Also, look at the supplies list before you begin. We wouldn't want you to have to come back inside for a pencil or a piece of tape.  Have fun learning outside!

    Think and Observe

    Think about these plant facts:

    Plants that grow near the forest floor often have large leaves to take in as much sunlight as possible.

    In humid places like rain forests, some plants have leaves with waxy coatings to whisk away water. to avoid fungus and bacterial growth.

    Think about these questions:

    What do the plant facts above have in common?

    How do plants meet their needs in different environments?

    (Click HERE to see a poster with some examples of adaptations ).


    Go outside to explore!

    If you have a hand lens, take it with you. Here there is a VIDEO that shows you how to use a hand lens.

    If you can't go outside look out the window or think about your school yard.

    Find a plant that interests you. What adaptations can you identify? (Hint: Adaptations are parts of the plant that are structured/built for a specific purpose to help the plant survive.)

    Use your hand lens to observe how each adaptation is structured. What observations can you make about how the adaptations are structured? (for example, a rain forest plant with waxy leaves from the Think and Observe step)

    How do you think the structure of the adaptation helps the plant survive?

    Write About It

    Open your journal or grab your paper.

    Draw your plant.

    Label the adaptations.

    Describe the structure of each adaptation with as much detail as possible.

    What function does each adaptation fill to ensure the plant's survival?

    Take a photograph of your plant or your drawing and upload it in the space below:

    For Parents

    This activity will help students explore how plants have different adaptations to help them survive in their habitats. Students will also be prompted to think about the relationship between structure and function. For example, some plants have very thin, shallow roots to capture as much water as they can from Earth's surface. Other plants have long, thick tap roots that grow deep into the Earth to reach water from below. A common plant with a tap root is the Dandelion. Many other common weeds have very shallow root systems. So, directing your student to pull some different kinds of weeds would be a good way to focus them in on structure and function of roots.