Section 4 : Plants and animals adapting to survive

Key Focus Question: How can you encourage pupils to make deductions from their detailed observations?

Keywords: plants; animals; observations; adaptation; mind maps; brainstorming; project

Learning outcomes

By the end of this section, you will have:

  • encouraged pupils to make deductions from their observations of living things (thinking and behaving scientifically);
  • used mind maps to record observations;
  • undertaken collaborative open-ended activities.


One important way in which scientists work is to make logical deductions based on careful observations and data.

Too often, teachers prevent this by giving pupils ready-made facts to memorise (and which pupils often forget). So we need to support pupils as they work things out for themselves. This section looks at encouraging pupils to interrogate (ask questions about) their observations in order to make reasonable deductions for themselves.

To tackle this, we focus on how animals adapt for survival and movement.

1. Using mind maps to record observations