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Adaptation Illustrated for Middle School/HS

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Adaptation Illustrated
Adaptation Illustrated
Adaptation Illustrated
Adaptation Illustrated
Adaptation Illustrated

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Summing up Adaptation:
There are three things that make natural selection and adaptation happen:

1) Genetic variability in a population, so that a trait appears that can give an advantage.

2) The trait must be inheritable so it can be passed on to the offspring.

3) The trait must lead to more offspring surviving so it will eventually spread throughout the population. This is called differential reproduction.


  1. A trait is a physical or behavioral feature of a living thing.
  2. An adaptive trait is a trait that helps a living thing survive longer.
  3. An inheritable trait is a trait that is passed down from parent to offspring.
  4. Differential reproduction is when an adaptive, inheritable trait spreads throughout a population because it leads to more offspring surviving.
  5. Genetic variability is when living things of the same species have traits that are not exactly the same.
  6. Natural selection is when an inheritable trait helps a living thing survive longer than others in its population without that trait.
  7. Population is many of the same species of living in one area.


Adaptation Discussion Questions:
1. Can you think of other examples of traits that would give the caribou an advantage, so would be considered adaptive traits?
2. All living things have adaptive traits. Name five living things, one adaptive trait that you can see and how it helps them survive. For example, a grasshopper is greenish-brown so it blends into the grass on which it feeds (adaptive trait). This helps it hide from birds that might prey on it.

3. Why does it take many, many generations for an adaptive trait to spread throughout the whole population?

**See PDF (above) for printable form.

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Amsel, Sheri. "Adaptation Illustrated for Middle School/HS" Exploring Nature Educational Resource ©2005-2023. March 31, 2023
< > has more than 2,000 illustrated animals. Read about them, color them, label them, learn to draw them.