Find what you need fast!  Type in your keyword and search.

Animals On Europa (Part 3/4)

Context for this Lesson

Teaching Strategies: 
School or Organization: 

TOPIC: Design and build an adapted animal



  • How might animals adapt to live on Europa?



§112.16. Science, 5th Grade

  • (9) Organisms and environments. The student knows that there are relationships, systems, and cycles within environments. The student is expected to:
    • (A) observe the way organisms live and survive in their ecosystem by interacting with the living and non-living elements.
  • 10) Organisms and environments. The student knows that organisms undergo similar life processes and have structures that help them survive within their environments. The student is expected to:
    • (A) compare the structures and functions of different species that help them live and survive such as hooves on prairie animals or webbed feet in aquatic animals.

§117.117. Art, Grade 5 

  • (2) Creative expression. The student communicates ideas through original artworks using a variety of media with appropriate skills. The student expresses thoughts and ideas creatively while challenging the imagination, fostering reflective thinking, and developing disciplined effort and progressive problem-solving skills. The student is expected to:
    • (A) integrate ideas drawn from life experiences to create original works of art; revised August 2015 36
    • (B) create compositions using the elements of art and principles of design; and
    • (C) produce drawings; paintings; prints; sculpture, including modeled forms; and other art forms such as ceramics, fiber art, constructions, digital art and media, and photographic imagery using a variety of materials.


  • Chart paper
  • Animal Research Worksheet
  • Europa Research Worksheet
  • Animal Adaptations Worksheet
  • Markers
  • Recycled materials
  • Scissors
  • Tape

Created by: Ally Tufenkjian and Tonja Lopez



Before we head into our main activity for the day, can you all remind me what we worked on last time? Thanks for the refresher! Cynthia Hunter will be joining us to help us begin to adapt our animals to live on Europa.

(Facilitator steps into role).

Transition: My team was blown away by the research you generated last session so I’m really excited to take on this next phase with you all. Now that we’ve found out more about animals that live on Earth and their adaptations as well as Europa’s environment, we can start thinking about how Earthly animals might need to adapt to live on Europa. We get to use all of our research to design our adapted animal and build a 3-D model. As you remember, Earth is running out of resources as we speak. In the spirit of conserving Earth’s resources, we’ll be using recycled materials to build it.



Using what we learned these last two sessions about Europa’s environment and about animals, we’re going to think about how our animals would adapt to live on this moon. Can you remind me what it means to adapt?

We have our research from last time to reference. Please pull out your Animal Research Worksheet and Europa Research Worksheet. Discuss with your group three ways that your animal would need to adapt to live on Europa and why. Maybe it would need to grow claws. Maybe it needs gills. Maybe it needs heat-resistant skin or a longer tongue. Take a few minutes to discuss these with your group. Jot these ideas down on your Animal Adaptations Worksheet. 

Transition: Great work. We have one more planning phase before we start building.



As we know, Earth is running out of resources so we must do our best to not contribute any more waste to the planet. That is why we will only use recycled materials to make our 3-D models. Take several minutes with your group to look over at the table of materials we have. Based on what you see, decide with your group what recycled materials you want to use for the 3-D model. Choose materials to that best represent your animal and its characteristics. For instance, if your animal has scales, maybe represent that with foil. If it has waterproof skin, maybe you use a plastic water bottle for its body. As you decide on materials, write them down on the Materials section of your Animal Adaptations Worksheet.



Now, we’ll start building it! Before we start, we have some visual arts ideas to consider, which will help us make an eye-catching model to present at our exhibit. These visual arts elements are: sculptural techniques (brainstorm what these might be), balance, actual texture, center of interest. (Facilitator goes over these concepts with the class).

(From Horace Mann Visual Arts Glossary - Sculptural techniques: different ways to create three-dimensional (3-D) forms; for example, cutting, folding, rolling, twisting, curling, scoring, bending, additive and subtractive processes, attaching, joining, and carving. Texture: “actual texture is how something feels when touched.” Balance: —”arrangement of the elements to create an equal distribution of visual weight throughout the format or composition.” Center of interest: “the area of a composition that attracts the viewers’ attention; also called the focal point.”)

Now, one representative from your group will pick up the materials you need. Consult the list of materials you generated as a group as you pick them up. Please remember that the whole class is sharing these materials so be willing to adjust your list of materials if needed to make sure we all have access to them.

(Facilitator distributes materials to each group based on their list of materials. Students build animal models with Facilitator circulating to assist. Facilitator might offer side-coaching to groups, such as “Think about how the materials you’re using represent your animal’s adaptations” and “Consider how you might highlight your animal’s adaptations by creating centers of interest in your composition.”After the building process, Facilitator guides students in cleaning up the materials).

These animals look amazing! I can’t wait to see the finished models.

(Facilitator steps out of role).




  • How did your group come up with your animal’s adaptations?


  • Did you learn anything new about your animal?


  • How drastically did you have to adapt your animal to live on Europa?
Extensions/Applications :