4 Boardworks GCSE Science: Biology Adaptation What is adaptation?Boardworks GCSE Science: BiologyAdaptationAll organisms are adapted to life in general, such as having legs for walking, wings for flying or leaves for photosynthesizing. These are general adaptations.Teacher notesSee the ‘Competition’ presentation for more information on niches and other ecological terms.Organisms also have specific adaptations. These are special features or behaviours that have evolved to make an organism particularly suited to its environmental niche.
7 The importance of adaptation Boardworks GCSE Science: BiologyAdaptationWhy is it important that organisms are adapted to their environment?The better adapted an organism is to its habitat, the more successful it will be when competing for resources such as food and mates.This increases the organism’s chance of survival and so increases its chance of reproducing and passing on its genes.Teacher notesSee the ‘Competition’ presentation for more information on competition and survival.
8 Boardworks GCSE Science: Biology Adaptation True or false?Boardworks GCSE Science: BiologyAdaptationTeacher notesThis true-or-false activity could be used as a plenary or revision exercise on adaptation, or at the start of the lesson to gauge students’ existing knowledge of the subject matter. Coloured traffic light cards (red = false, yellow = don’t know, green = true) could be used to make this a whole-class exercise.
12 Adaptations of predators Boardworks GCSE Science: BiologyAdaptationWhat are common predator adaptations for hunting and killing?Excellent vision – For spotting prey from far away. Many predators have binocular vision to accurately judge the distance of their prey.High speed – For chasing after prey. Predators often stalk their prey using stealth and sometimes camouflage to get as close as possible without being detected.Weapons – For killing prey. These are predominantly sharp teeth, claws and beaks, which enable the predator to hold their prey and tear their flesh.
13 Boardworks GCSE Science: Biology Adaptation Adaptations of preyBoardworks GCSE Science: BiologyAdaptationWhat are common prey adaptations for avoiding capture by predators?Excellent vision – For spotting predators from far away. Many prey have a wide field of view to see predators approaching from all different directions.High speed – For escaping from predators. Prey animals such as deer and antelopes often have a high stamina to keep running for longer than their predators.Camouflage – For hiding from predators. For example, the stripes on a zebra break up their outline, stick insects look like twigs, some insects look like leaves.Defence – For protection against attack. Examples include armour plating, horns and tusks.
17 Boardworks GCSE Science: Biology Adaptation Let’s pretendBoardworks GCSE Science: BiologyAdaptationSome harmless organisms have become adapted to look like dangerous species. This is called mimicry.For example, stingless hoverflies have black and yellow bands on their bodies that resemble those on wasps or bees.Photo credits (left and right): Henri Goulet, Agriculture and Agri-Food CanadaThe insect on the left is a hoverfly (Spilomyia longicornis) and the insect on the right is a common wasp (Vespula vulgaris).This warns predators to stay away, even though the hoverflyis incapable of stinging.
18 Boardworks GCSE Science: Biology Adaptation Whose adaptation?Boardworks GCSE Science: BiologyAdaptationTeacher notesAppropriately coloured voting cards could be used with this classification activity to increase class participation.
23 Boardworks GCSE Science: Biology Adaptation How is a camel adapted?Boardworks GCSE Science: BiologyAdaptationHow is a camel adapted to life in a very hot, dry climate?fat is stored in the hump to reduce overheatinglittle water is lost through sweating or urinationlong, thin legs help to increase body surface area and increase heat lossPhoto credit: Roma Rishkinwide feet spread out body weight on shifting sand
24 More camel adaptations Boardworks GCSE Science: BiologyAdaptationWhat other adaptations have camels evolved to cope with the harsh desert environment?long eyelashes and furry ears prevent sand and dust from getting innostrils can be closed for protection during sandstormsPhoto credit: Bas Silderhuisvery varied diet, ranging from grass and bark to thorns and bones.
25 Boardworks GCSE Science: Biology Adaptation Which adaptation?Boardworks GCSE Science: BiologyAdaptationTeacher notesAppropriately coloured voting cards could be used with this classification activity to increase class participation.
27 Boardworks GCSE Science: Biology Adaptation How is a cactus adapted?Boardworks GCSE Science: BiologyAdaptationHow is a cactus adapted to life in a very hot, dry climate?water stored in a fleshy stem, and a thick, waxy surface reduces water lossleaves are narrow spines to reduce water loss and protect from predatorsPhoto credit: Paul Harveyroots are either very deep, or shallow and widespread to catch surface water
28 Boardworks GCSE Science: Biology Adaptation What do flowers do?Boardworks GCSE Science: BiologyAdaptationFlowers enable plants to reproduce sexually. For this to happen, pollen from one flower must be carried to another flower – either on the same plant or on a different plant. This is called pollination.Photo credit: Tracy TohIn what ways can pollination take place?Pollen is carried by insects from one flower to another.Pollen is blown by wind from one flower to another.
29 Adaptations for insect pollination Boardworks GCSE Science: BiologyAdaptationHow are flowers adapted for pollination by insects such as bees and butterflies?colourful, scented petals attract insectsnectar, a source of food for insects, is deep within the flowerlarge, sticky pollen grains become attached to the insect’s bodystiff anthers and stigmas are positioned where insects must brush past themPhoto credit: Dog MadicTeacher notesThe anther is the part of the flower that produces pollen. The stigma is sticky and is the part of the flower to which pollen must attach for pollination to take place.How bees pollinate flowersThe colour and scent of the petals attract a bee. Many petals also have ‘guidelines’, sometimes invisible to humans, that guide the bee into the centre of the flower.Nectar is produced by the petals and used by bees to make honey, an energy-rich food source.The nectar is located deep within the flower, so the bee must brush past the anthers and stigma.As the bees brushed the anthers, large, sticky pollen grains rub off onto the bee’s body.The bee flies off to another flower to collect more nectar.As the bees brushes past the stigma, the pollen grains are rubbed off – this is pollination.
31 Unusual plant adaptations Boardworks GCSE Science: BiologyAdaptationPlants can live in acid or waterlogged soils where there is little nitrate. Some plants have evolved a rather cunning adaptation to obtain the nutrients they need.Pitcher plants have a large hollow filled with fluid that traps insects or other small organisms that may fall in.Hairs on the slippery inside of the plant are angled down to ensure that the victim cannot escape!The plant digests its victims to absorb the nitrates it needs!
33 Boardworks GCSE Science: Biology Adaptation Glossary (1/2)Boardworks GCSE Science: BiologyAdaptationadaptation – A special feature or behaviour that makes an organism particularly suited to its habitat.camouflage – An adaptation that helps an organism to remain undetected by a predator or prey.general – A type of adaptation that makes an organism suited to life overall.mimicry – The resemblance of one species to a more dangerous species, for protection against predation.
34 Boardworks GCSE Science: Biology Adaptation Glossary (2/2)Boardworks GCSE Science: BiologyAdaptationpollination – The transfer of pollen from one flower to another, and which is assisted by insects or wind.predator – An organism that hunts and kills other organisms for food.prey – An organism that is killed and eaten by another organism.specific – A type of adaptation that makes an organism particularly suited to its environmental niche.
36 Boardworks GCSE Science: Biology Adaptation Which organism?Boardworks GCSE Science: BiologyAdaptationTeacher notesThis quiz activity could be used as a plenary or revision exercise. There are six mystery organisms to identify and each organism has three clues. The similarity of adaptations between different organisms could be used as stimulus for a wider discussion about evolution.
37 Boardworks GCSE Science: Biology Adaptation Multiple-choice quizBoardworks GCSE Science: BiologyAdaptationTeacher notesThis multiple-choice quiz could be used as a plenary activity to assess students’ understanding of adaptation. The questions can be skipped through without answering by clicking “next”. Students could be asked to complete the questions in their books and the activity could be concluded by the completion on the IWB.
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