Lesson plan

Fur and Feathers

Activities to explore the functions of fur and feathers: for keeping warm, for floating, for staying waterproof, for camouflage.
Science content
Biology: Features, Adaptations of Living Things (K, 1, 3, 7)

Fur and feathers keep animals warm, help them float, keep them dry and can be coloured to help them hide in their environment.
Four stations explore these properties of fur.

1. Fur and feathers for warmth. Hold the bag of ice cubes. Feel how cold it is. Wrap it in one of the cloths. Can you feel the cold through the cloth?
Discussion: Fur traps air which stops warmth from leaving, and keeps an animal warm.

2. Fur and feathers for floating Which materials float? Which materials sink? Which materials float when they are dry, but sink when they are wet? How can you combine them to float the ones that sink?
Discussion: Objects can float if they have air in them. Dense fur and feathers trap air, and help animals float and swim at the surface of the water (otter, beaver, duck).

3. Fur and feathers for waterproofing
Make a wax crayon drawing of an animal with fur that lives in water,
Then paint over with the (water-based) paints.
Watch how the watery paint runs off the waxy crayons.
Discussion: Many animals oil their fur or feathers to make the water run off them. (Otter and beaver, water birds such as ducks.)

4. Fur and feathers for camouflage
Look at pictures of animals with fur and feathers that camouflage them in their surroundings.
Try these weblinks:
Discussion: As well as keeping an animal warm and dry, fur and feathers can be coloured to help an animal hide.


Four stations at Grandview: Fur and Feathers for warmth, floating, waterproofing, camouflage
Three stations at Shaughnessy: Fur and Feathers for warmth, floating, camouflage

Grades taught
Gr K
Gr 1
Gr 2