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Habitat and Adaptations Close Reading Unit for 3rd Grade

habitat and adaptations unit for third grade

This standards-aligned unit on Habitat and Adaptations will help you teach your 3rd grade class about animal habitats!

Focusing primarily on the desert habitat and the animals and plants that live there, students will learn about adaptations and biodiversity. Students will learn that animals and plants in the desert have unique adaptations that help them survive in the desert. Organisms that live in the desert have structures that function to conserve water and keep them cool .

habitat and adaptations sorting cards

It’s aligned with NGSS standards for third-grade biological evolution: unity and diversity: habitat


Standards Aligned with This Unit

Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.

After students learn about adaptations for desert habitat, they will explore other habitats and what type of adaptations organisms need to survive in those habitats.

NGSS 3-LS4-3

Make a claim about the merit of a solution to a problem caused when the environment changes and the types of plants and animals that live there may change.

NGSS 3-LS4-4


Reading Informational Text Passages on Ecosystems

reading passage on ecosystems

This unit is also aligned with Utah SEEd standards 3.2.5 and 3.2.6.

Utah SEEd 3.2.5 – Engage in argument from evidence that in a particular habitat (system) some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all. Emphasize that organisms and habitats form systems in which the parts depend upon each other. Examples of evidence could include needs and characteristics of the organisms and habitats involved such as cacti growing in dry, sandy soil but not surviving in wet, saturated soil.

Utah SEEd 3.2.6 – Design a solution to a problem caused by a change in the environment that impacts the types of plants and animals living in that environment. Define the problem, identify criteria and constraints, and develop possible solutions. Examples of environmental changes could include changes in land use, water availability, temperature, food, or changes caused by other organisms.


Adaptations for Desert Habitat

reading passage on adaptations for desert habitat

Five pages of informational text articles on habitats & plant and animal adaptations are included!

reading passages on habitat and adaptations

Students will learn about abiotic and biotic factors and how they interact in an ecosystem. This is a great opportunity to integrate ELA standards into science instruction. You will love teaching science with this unit.

Specific information is given on the desert habitat, and students are expected to research another habitat to find out about it’s characteristics and how animals and plants survive there.

adaptation worksheets

A printable layered book is included for students to record information gathered from their research

layered book for habitat third grade

It includes response pages, interactive notebook flaps, and folds, sorting cards, text-dependent questions, and answer keys – much more than is pictured here! This is a full and complete unit that will engage students in thinking about adaptations.


Other 3rd grade teachers LOVE this resource!

Check out two of the 100+ perfect ratings:

These were great texts to use in the classroom, and the visuals were helpful to my students. They enjoyed reading about the types of desert adaptations!

Smith’s Super Scholars

No prep and easy to use with interesting passages. I was able to use quite a bit of it for a packet to send home when our school closed.

Tina S.

Try this unit in your classroom TODAY:

This unit is available for download in two places:

  1. Teaching Science with Lynda on Teachers Pay Teachers
  2. Here on

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Thank you, and I hope you enjoy using this unit in your classroom!

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