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Describe How Environmental Variations Affect Organisms

In this worksheet, students will learn how plants and animals adapt to changes in their environment, whether these be daily or seasonal changes.

'Describe How Environmental Variations Affect Organisms' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 3

Year:  Year 7 Science worksheets

Curriculum topic:   Biology: Interactions and Interdependencies

Curriculum subtopic:   Relationships in an Ecosystem

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

A number of changes take place in the environment that can affect organisms that live there. 

Changes can be daily or seasonal.

Organisms adapt to these changes to ensure their survival.


Day and night


Daily changes

Flowers give off smells to attract the animals that pollinate them. Some flowers are nocturnal, which means that they open at night, such as the evening primrose plant. This is because the animals that pollinate them are active during the night, like some moths for example. 




Some animals are also nocturnal because they have to avoid being seen and eaten during the day, like hedgehogs. Others hunt at night because the animals they eat are active at night! Nocturnal animals are adapted to have excellent eyesight and/or hearing, like owls.


barn owl


Seashore organisms are adapted to tides. Sea anemones, for example, use tentacles to feed underwater - when the tide goes out, they pull their tentacles in to stop them drying out.


harbourRock pool with anenomes


Seasonal changes

In winter, deciduous trees lose their leaves, as there is not much light for photosynthesis and a lot of water is lost through leaves. This water cannot be replaced if the water in the ground is frozen. Evergreen trees have tougher leaves that do not lose that much water. They keep their leaves all year round, so they can start photosynthesis as soon as there is enough liquid water and light. These trees usually grow in places with short summers.


Some plants die completely in the winter. Their seeds grow into new plants in spring. Other plants die just above the ground, while their bulbs below ground are ready to grow again as soon as the weather is warmer - such as daffodils and snowdrops.


Image of a snowdrop plant


Animals also adapt to life during winter. Some grow longer fur to keep warm. Some change their fur colour into white, so they are better camouflaged in snowy environments. A bird called the ptarmigan even grows feathers on its feet to walk better in the snow!  


Others collect and store food so that they can eat during the winter when food is not available easily. Furthermore, some animals (such as bears) eat a lot in the autumn and sleep during the winter, waking up in spring, when there is more food available.This is called hibernation.

Hibernating bear


Finally, some organisms just migrate to warmer climates, like some species of geese.


birds migrating


Let's explore further how these variations in their environment affect the organisms that live there.


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