What adaptations would a creature need to survive on an exoplanet?

This post-activity can be used after your visit to the planetarium and your AstroZoo program. (Best suited for grade levels 1st through 5th.)

Background Information

As we learned from AstroZoo, exoplanets are planets that have been discovered outside our solar system.  Over 800 have been discovered with more coming all the time.  These planets have been discovered to have vastly different environments such as constant high speed winds, polar temperatures, even a surface covered in diamonds!  Since all life that we know of lives on a planet, we could be one step closer to finding extraterrestrial life.
If life is to survive on one of these exoplanets it must adapt to these extreme environments.  Using the facts about these planets, think of various adaptations an animal would need.  For example, if an environment is really cold, maybe an animal will have fur to keep it warm.  Or if it is very windy, maybe it has special wings to ride the wind.  Now, using every day materials, design a creature that uses these adaptations to survive on these worlds.

Key Concepts

  • Adaptations help plants and animals survive in their environment

Skills

  • Hypothesizing

  • Drawing Conclusions

Materials

  • AstroZoo Handout

  • Recycled Materials such as egg cartons, containers, etc.

  • Craft Materials such as pipe cleaners, construction paper etc.

  • Art Supplies such as crayons, markers, etc.

Procedure

1.  Gather materials from list prior to activity.

2.  Review the exoplanets from the AstroZoo activity. It may be helpful to make copies of the handout.

3.  Working alone or in pairs, have students pick an exoplanets to create an animal.  They could also use the animal they created previously during the AstroZoo activity.

4.  Have students decide on various adaptations a creature would need to survive on the planet they chose and write them down. How does each creature trait relate to each planet trait?

5.  Now use the craft materials to create a body and attach other parts to match their design.  Make sure that each adaptation is represented.

6.  Have students present their creatures to the class and talk about how their creatures have adapted to their environment.

7.  Submit a digital photo of your AstroZoo 3-D menagerie! We will proudly post the various submissions for all to see!