Adaptive means the clever bit to make the lights do their dance.
On mine I turn the light switch to the 11 o'clock position to switch on the adaptive function. This automatically switches from side lights to dipped headlights as the ambient outside light gets darker. It also allows the headlights to turn their beam to point in the direction of travel. As you turn the steering wheel the beam is moved to point the way the car is travelling. Also when the indicator is switched on an additional 'cornering' light is illuminated. This is the light either side of the kidney grill. Normal headlight is the bulb next to the indicator.
On cars with Xenons there is only one bulb 'on' when you change between dipped and full headlights, a mask moves to reveal more of the bulb to give the full headlights. In halogens switching on full headlights switched on the lights either side of the kidney grill.
Park up the car against a wall and turn the steering wheel and you will see the beams move and the turning light come on but I don't think one of the cornering lights comes on when steering when stationary to avoid dazzling oncoming drivers.