Adapting and Camouflage

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SWBAT determine how animals use camouflage to survive in various environments and why animals look the way they do in their environments.

Big Idea

Camouflage and adaptability are structures that animals and plants have that aide in their survival. This lesson helps students connect to how camouflage and other structures make it possible for animals and plants to survive.

How Do Animals Survive?

10 minutes

To open the lesson, students are going to begin by preparing their science journal. To do so I need to model what the page should look like in their journal. I start by asking them what they know about animal adaptations. We then further the discussion adding to our notes that adaptations can be physical and/or behavioral. To help the class, I try to further the discussion, helping them by prompting them to think about how animals survive within their environments. It is also important at this time to review what is predator and prey. This is a fun discussion and students like to make connections to this thought process. 

Let's Be Birds

20 minutes

For the experiment each group will be given a piece of colorful quilting cloth. Each group will use this as their own personal environment. As I hand the cloth pieces out, I ask them to take notice of the colors. I then hand out a baggie of hole punched dots of various colors. They will use these dots as their prey. I describe them as their butterflies and insects. They are going to be the predators and the dots are their prey. 

Groups are made of twos and threes. Students will choose one member of their group to turn around and face away from the cloth. This student will be the group's bird. The others will place the dots randomly onto the piece of cloth. I will signal the bird to turn around to get ready to pick up dots. The trick is they have to pick up dots one at time and place them into their other hand. I will use a stopwatch to time them. I tell the students to turn around look at their environment and then I say go. The first bird gets a minute to pick up dots. The second student 45 seconds, and the final student 30 seconds. This way everyone has a turn. 


Collecting Data

15 minutes

After each student is the bird, I ask them to set their dots to the side. The other students in the group are now ready to be the scientists. They will count the dots and pay specific attention to the amounts of each color that they collected. The colors are very important for our later discussion on the structures of some animals like camouflage. Each time they conduct the experiment the counting of the colors and amounts is important. I remind them to also note if any colors were not picked up. The exciting part is that students are beginning to connect on the lack of certain colors as each of them take their turn.  

Connecting Content

15 minutes

The last part is a large discussion on what we discovered. I lead the class through a sharing portion. After some initial clean up, I begin by putting up one cloth. I then ask this group to tell what colors they picked up the most and which the least. They share with the class and I then ask for students to explain why those colors were the least and most. They begin to connect that depending on the cloth, the dots that are picked up either stand out or are harder to see. I keep this process up through half the groups. On the last half, I ask for predictions before the groups share their collection data. Students then explain why those colors might be the ones that get picked up the most and least. They now have a very clear idea of which colors stand out on which backgrounds.