Adaptation: Lesson Plan

Discover the secrets of Venus flytraps and oak trees, which can survive fires when other vegetation cannot.

UNC-TV Media

Alignment to NC Essential Standards

  • 8.L.4.2 — Explain the relationship between genetic variation and an organism’s ability to adapt to its environment.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this lesson, students will be able to: 

  • Describe how an organism with traits better suited for their environment is more likely to survive. 
  • Explain genetic variation and natural selection.

Essential Vocabulary

  • Adaptation
  • Genetic variation
  • Natural selection
  • Allele
  • Genotype
  • Heterozygous genotype
  • Homozygous genotype


Students will watch the UNC-TV Science video The Oak Stands Tall to learn about the genetic characteristics that enable oak trees to survive fires that kill other trees, bushes and shrubs. They should answer the questions on the attached PDF as they view.


Show the students the UNC-TV Seasonal Science video “Venus Flytrap” and engage in the Explore Activity below.

  • Explore Activity Instructions
  • Venus Flytrap Video 4-Square Vocabulary Picture
  • Venus Flytrap Video 4-Square Completed 4-Square Vocabulary Picture 


Students will track multiple generations of theoretical Venus flytrap plants by completing the Genetic Variation activity below.

  • Explain Activity
  • Venus Flytrap Video Genetic Variation Activity


Students may be interested in conducting research into why plants adapted into carnivorous predators. The following websites are resources for this research:

How Venus Flytraps Work — 

The Mysterious Venus Flytrap — 

Depending on the time of year, the NC Zoo conducts an Endangered Species Poster contest for all school-aged students. Details and contest rules can be found here on the NC Zoo website.


Venus flytraps and oak trees are able to survive fires that destroy other forms of vegetation that grow near them. Students will create a poster board, write a three-paragraph essay, or provide a video or animation that describes this, or any other example of plant adaptation.