Science meets Art meets Writing

I love when a creative idea comes to mind. This one was inspired by Teach Like a Pirate (read more about that here). The “P” in pirate stands for passion. Dave Burgess says that you’re not always going to be passionate about the content you are teaching and when that is the case you should include something else that you are passionate about. I am not passionate about animal adaptations, but I do love creating, crafting, painting, anything artsy. So this lesson focuses on the life science standard of animal adaptations but includes art and writing also!

Prior to the lesson we learned all about adaptations and why they are necessary for plants and animals to survive. I also took photos of all of the students’ faces, cropped them, and put them into the Sketch Master app on my iPad.

sketch master

This app can take any photo and turn it into a sketch. There are many different versions of the sketch to choose. I simply chose the one that gave each students’ face some definition without too much shading.

Before the kids started the lesson I cut just their faces out from these printed sketches.

So we started the lesson by reading two books.

animal hair animal teeth

What If You Had Animal Hair? and What If You Had Animal Teeth?

We then talked about which adaptations they would pick if they had to choose. It was a great conversation and I wish I could have recorded it (hahaha!!!). I want rattlesnake teeth so that I can bite and kill anything I want to. I want reindeer hair so that I float all the time. I then explained what was about to happen by showing them my animal hair and teeth on my photo face.


I the have each student a plain sheet of paper and their sketched face. We glued them together and then they sketched in their hair and teeth. It was a blast watching them create these little details and explain to me why they picked them. The last thing I had them do was write two sentences about why they chose the hair they did. What adaptations does that give you? They wrote two more sentences about the teeth. Some of the kids wrote more which was awesome! They turned out so cute!

Next year the same authors are putting out another book.

animal feet

This will add another great dimension to this fun school craftivity!

NEW Signature


Birds and Bugs

We have started our adaptations unit and today we pretended to be birds and “ate” bugs. This activity requires some prep time, but not much. You will need:

  • dried black beans
  • dried white beans
  • dried red beans
  • dried green peas
  • masking tape or landscape tape

This outdoor class activity requires some classroom management, but if my kids can handle it so can yours (trust me!)

Tape off a small rectangle of grass for each science group (I group my students in groups of 5 or 6—grab my FREE science groups notebook here). Then throw out a mixture of red, black, white, and green beans (I counted mine out to make them all equal today, BUT I will never do that again).

photo 1

One student in each group will be your recorder and have a clipboard with a data sheet on it. Get my data sheet here for FREE!

I had the students line up behind their rectangle. The front student had a cup and was told they could pick up one bean at a time to put in the cup. They had thirty seconds to get as many “bugs” (aka beans) as they could. “Birds” ready (students), set, EAT!

photo 2 photo 3

After third seconds they count each color bean and record on their sheet. I throw out another cup with a mixture of color beans into each box (about 50mL). Then the next person goes. We did five rounds today so that everyone had a turn. Then the students sat down and added up their total for each color bean. We went inside and put our data on the SMARTboard (Grab your SMARTboard notebook here for FREE!).

We then talked about which color we got the most of, the least of, why and eventually lead the conversation into camouflage. What other animals camouflage in their environment or habitat? Its a fun activity with tons of great aspects to science and math!