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Animals On Europa (Part 4/4)

Context for this Lesson

Teaching Strategies: 
School or Organization: 

TOPIC: Animal exhibition hall



  • What might animals of the future look like?



§112.16. Science, Grade 5

  • (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.


  • Recycled objects
  • Index cards
  • Markers
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Glue

Created by: Ally Tufenkjian and Tonja Lopez



Today we’ll be creating an exhibition of our 3-D models. To do this, we need to think about how we will display our models in an interesting way. It’s almost like we’re advertising or showcasing them. We’re going to do a quick activity to think about how we might “advertise” our 3-D models. We call this “Artifact Pitch.” Take a moment to find a personal item on your desk or if you have one in mind, you can pull it from your backpack. Your job will be to make this object sound like the most exciting thing you have ever seen to convince other people to love it as much as you do in less than one minute. I will give you an example. (Facilitator models with a basic object such as a pencil). Take a second to observe the object you picked and jot down some notes about it. What does it do? How does it work? What color(s) is it? What is exciting about it? Why is it special to you? (You can make up a sentimental story if you want). What fancy name would you give it? Now, we’ll go around in your groups and each person will have about 30 seconds to pitch their object. (Students go around in groups. If time, have one or two students share with the whole class). Which pitches were most exciting? Why?

Transition: Now that we have a sense of how we present our models in an exciting way, we can get ready for our exhibition! Cynthia Hunter will be guiding us through that process.



(Facilitator steps into role).

Facilitator in Role: Today, we’ll be finishing up our models and setting them up in an exhibition hall to show to the head of NASA’s Space Exploration department, Stacy Hernandez! Here’s how we will prepare for her arrival: You’ll get several minutes to finish up your animal models. Then you’ll decide how you’ll display your animal. You’ll also prepare what information about your animal you will share with Mrs. Hernandez.



We’ll take the next 10 minutes to finish up our models. As you finish, keep in mind the following fine arts elements (Facilitator reviews sculptural techniques, texture, balance, centers of interest. Students make finishing touches on animal model).

The last step is to setup the display for your animal so our work is clearly displayed for Mrs. Hernandez. You’ll need to set up your creature on the table as well as create a placard or sign that gives us some details about the animal, how it has adapted, and why it has adapted to live on Europa. Your placard should include:

  • The name of the animal (perhaps you give it a new name)
  • Its three adaptations to live on Europa

This placard will sit next to your animal so Mrs. Hernandez can read about it as you share. Take a couple of minutes to decide with your group what will go on the placard.

(Students discuss with their group what should go on their placards and write it out).

Now take a couple minutes to arrange your animal as you want it displayed along with your placard alongside it.

(Students set up their display).

Transition: This exhibition hall looks amazing. When Mrs. Hernandez gets here, she’ll want to hear about what your animal is, its two adaptations, and why you selected those adaptations so please be prepared to share that information.



I see Mrs. Hernandez outside! Is everyone ready?

(Facilitator changes costume and steps intro role as Mrs. Hernandez)

Hello everyone! I’m so excited to be here. Cynthia has told me about your expertise and I’m so excited to see what you’ve come up with. As she mentioned, I’m the head of the ecology department at NASA. Cynthia has been sharing the research you’ve been doing and I’m very impressed. Your work is the future and I’m so glad we’ve had your creative minds on this project. Let’s get started!

(Facilitator and class circulate around the room as each group shares).

Facilitator and CT ask students that are observing: What do you notice? What do you wonder about this creature? Why might this creature have these characteristics? Ask group that is sharing: What is your animal and what are its adaptations? How did your group come up with this creature’s adaptations? (Process repeats with each group).

Transition:This is incredible work. As we continue to research the possibility of life on other planets at NASA, this research will be crucial as think about how to make that a reality. Thanks for your work! (Facilitator steps out of role).




  • What were the similarities between the adaptations of the animals in the exhibition? What were the differences?


  • How much did they have to adapt to live on Europa? Why?


  • What might this tell us about what the animals of the future will look like?
Extensions/Applications : 


How would animals in the exhibition interact with each other in an ecosystem?