Recommended Pre-Reading Selection: Adaptations:
Fit for Survival.
Prior to reading the selection, activate students’ prior
knowledge: Write the words general and special on the board. Ask
students to describe the meanings of each word. Invite them to use
a dictionary or thesaurus to find definitions. Ask questions: "What
would you rather be: A generalist or a specialist? Why?" Have
students make a Two-Column Chart to brainstorm ideas for "Generalists"
Introduce the selection with these fact statements: "Some
species are generalists." "Some species are specialists."
"Some species are generalists and specialists." Ask students
to make predictions about what physical and/or behavioral characteristics
would place a species in the Generalist or Specialist category.
"Which species do you think scientists have labeled as generalists?"
"Which species are specialists?" "Which species do
you think are both generalists and specialists?" "Are
manatees generalists, specialists, or both?" Encourage students
to give reasons to support their predictions.
Read aloud the title and the first sentence. Use the Stop and Share
strategy to help students identify the main idea and to confirm
or revise predictions. Ask students to paraphrase the first sentence:
using their own words to list the main ideas described. Invite them
to reassess their predictions based on the details revealed in the
title and lead.
Read Adaptations that are Unique to Manatees.
Related Reading Selections: "Adaptations:
Changing to Survive," "Manatee
Adaptations: The Organs," "Manatee
Adaptations: The Head," and "Manatee
Adaptations: Skeleton, Flippers, and Fat."
Revisit the selection to collect facts revealed in the text. Have
students work with a partner to create a Three-Column Chart where
key ideas from the article can be listed: Generalists, Specialists,
and Both. Encourage students to record facts from the text in the
appropriate columns. Invite students to use the chart for questions
the text does not answer.
Use the Jigsaw strategy to research the "Head-to-Flipper Facts"
that place the manatee in the specialist category. Have students
work in small groups. Each group reads a different article about
Manatee Adaptations. The three articles include: "The Organs,"
"The Head," and "Skeleton, Flippers, and Fat."
Jigsaw Procedure: Divide the class into small "Home Base"
groups. Each student in each group is assigned a number: 1, 2, or
3. Have students with the same number reassemble into "Expert"
groups. Expert group #1 studies the organs of the manatee. Expert
group #2 studies the head of the manatee. Expert group #3 studies
the skeletons, flippers, and fat of the manatee. The students should
gather in their "expert groups" to read the informational
selections specific to their assigned topic. Encourage students
to read, recall, reread, take notes, construct graphic organizers
for the main ideas/details, and create any visuals they could use
to teach others about the topic. After the expert groups have read,
summarized, and illustrated the information, they return to their
"Home Base" group. The #1 Experts teach the"Home
Base" group about the organs of the manatee. The #2, and #3
Experts teach the group about the topics they researched. Variation:
Rather than returning to "Home Base" groups, each Expert
group could make a presentation to the class on the topic they researched.
Jigsaw Information Sheets: Link to the Related Reading Selections:
#1 Fact Sheet: Manatee Adaptations:
#2 Fact Sheet: Manatee Adaptations:
#3 Fact Sheet: Manatee Adaptations:
Skeleton, Flippers, and Fat
1. The most important part of the human body is the brain, which
allows us to solve a lot of problems and to survive in many different
environments without changing our whole body. Is a human's use of
her/his brain to adjust in different environments the same as an
adaptation?What are examples of human adaptations?
2. How do humans adapt to changing weather conditions?
3. How do humans move around the world? Is this the same as animal
4. What tools help humans fly like birds or swim underwater like
Think about your preferences regarding geography, climate, and food.
What is your favorite place to live? What is your favorite season?
What are your favorite foods? Would you classify yourself as a generalist
or a specialist? What physical or behavioral characteristics determined
your choice? Are manatees able to actually "choose" the
geography and climate where they live in the same way a human does?
examine author's strategies.)
If you were an author, how would you create an interesting book
for young readers about Manatee Adaptations? How would you help
readers learn about the physical and behavioral characteristics
that help manatees survive in the wild? What text features would
you use to engage readers' attention? How would you organize the
information in a "reader-friendly" format? Which words
would need context clues to help young readers understand the facts
about manatee adaptations? What techniques did you learn from the
author of the Adaptation reading selections? Give examples from
the text to support your answer.