Use an example to explain that some characteristics or behaviors result from an individual plant’s or animal’s interactions with the environment and are not passed from one generation to the next by heredity (e.g., trees can lose a limb, animals can have accidents that cause scars, people can exercise and build muscles).
In prior grades students learned about variations in inherited characteristics. In grades 4-5 students learn that some differences in inherited characteristics may help plants and animals survive and reproduce. Sexual reproduction results in offspring that are never identical to either of their parents and therefore contributes to a species’ ability to adapt to changing conditions. Heredity is a key feature of living plants and animals that enables changes in characteristics to be passed on and for species to change over time. Fossils provide evidence of what ancient extinct plants and animals looked like.
Some characteristics and behaviors result from an individual plant’s or animal’s interactions with the environment and are not passed from one generation to the next by heredity.