Advance Preparation: Before students arrive, count and record how many paperclips you have of each color. Write on the board the number of each color of paperclips. Go outside to a grassy area and hide the paperclips. Make some easier to find than others.
Give students copies of the Camouflage It Activity (S-4-2-2_Camouflage It Activity.docx). Have students work in small groups to do the activity. Have the groups exchange the colored ads with hidden butterflies and try to find them.
When the lesson begins, explain to students that you will be taking them outside and they will need to find as many of the paperclips as they can in 10 seconds. Proceed with the activity, being sure to allow only 10 seconds for students to search. When time is up, tell students to stop looking, and take them back to the classroom with the paperclips they collected.
Have students count how many paperclips they have of each color. Add up how many paperclips each student found to get a class total. Next to the original list on the board, record the number of each color of paperclips that were found. Discuss the results with students. Ask students to consider which paperclips were the easiest to find and get their opinion as to why. (Answers will vary, but students will probably report that it was easier to find the reds, blues, and yellows.) Discuss with students which paperclips were the most difficult to find and why. (Students will likely report that the green paperclips were the most difficult to find. After discussing the data, introduce the concept of protective coloring to students and explain why it helps those animals that use it to survive.
Have students write a list of the following environments in their notes: wetland, tundra, desert, prairie, ocean, and forest. Use a projector to show them the Animal Adaptations PowerPoint presentation. Each time they see an animal that is adapted to one of these environments, have them write the animal’s name next to that environment. After the presentation, hold a class discussion on the types of adaptations animals need to survive in each of the environments. Note: If needed, review the characteristics of the environments before the PowerPoint presentation.
Have students complete the activities at www.museum.state.il.us/flashapps/clink/protectiveColoration.swf. Students will be able to “drag and drop” animals that use protective coloring into different surroundings to see if they can find them. Students will also be given a chance to color butterflies and moths to blend into their surroundings.
Define “behavioral adaptation” and “structural adaptation.” Have students create a t-chart and place the following adaptations into the columns: mimicry, camouflage, hibernation, and migration. Note: Mimicry can be considered a structural or behavioral adaptation. Camouflage is structural. Hibernation and migration are behavioral. Ask students to think of at least one more example and write it under each column.
Work Station Activities
Students have the opportunity to move to two of the three stations set up in the classroom. Students have the choice of completing the activity at Station 1 or Station 2. All students have to complete the activity at Station 3.
Station 1 Activity: Design Your Own Animal
Have available for students copies of the Design Your Own Animal worksheet (S-4-2-2_ Design Your Own Animal.doc). In this activity, students design their own animal using one or more of the concepts learned:
To complete the assignment, students need to draw a picture of the animal, describe what adaptations help the animal to survive, include what the animal eats, and list at least two of its predators. Students also need to print a picture, from the Internet, of the country where their animal lives and explain why that location is a suitable habitat for their animal based on its adaptations. Encourage students to use the entire space to draw their animal.
Station 2 Activity: Label the Adaptations
Students use old magazines to cut out their favorite animal or print a picture from the Internet. Have students glue their “animal cut out” onto a piece of construction paper. Students then label the different body parts and describe why each of those adaptations is important to the animal surviving in its environment. (For example: A panda bear has fur that keeps it warm in cold weather.)
Station 3 Activity: Technology
Have available copies of the Mimicry Worksheet (S-4-2-2_ Mimicry Worksheet.doc). Allow four to five students at a time to view the Web site www.alleghany.k12.va.us/animal%20adaptation%20webpage/animal_mimicry.htm to learn about animals that use mimicry. Allow time for each student to review the information, and then return to his/her desk to complete the worksheet.
Students can also have the opportunity to be the “predator.” Students can look through “Where’s Waldo?” books to see if they can find Waldo camouflaged in the pictures. Students will be able to see how difficult it is for a predator to find prey, if it has protective covering as an adaptation.
For students performing above and beyond the standards, have them create a comparison chart on unique animal adaptations and the geological location their found in. Students research various parts of the world, ranging from equatorial to polar regions. They create a large poster of the Earth, labeled with the various structural adaptations they found.
For students requiring extra practice with the standards, if your school has an account with BrainPop.com, have students view the video titled “Camouflage” under Science found at www.brainpop.com/science/ecologyandbehavior/camouflage/preview.weml.
A book report project on a nonfiction book about animal adaptations can be given both to students requiring extra practice with the standards as well as to students performing beyond the standards. Use the Fancy Folder Report activity sheet (S-4-2-2_Fancy Folder Report and Rubric.doc).