In this lesson we explored the mysteries behind camouflage and mimicry in the natural world. We investigated the different strategies animals use to hide in plain sight to either escape predators, or to sneak up on prey. We identified different types of camouflage animals use including, counter shading, color blocking and disguise. We looked at different types of mimicry and identified how and why animals might be trying to resemble something else. We also discussed natural selection and how species that have certain characteristics are better suited to survive in their environment and thus reproduce more and pass on those genes to the next generation.
In the activity for this class, we were acting as predators trying to “hunt” for prey items. Our prey consisted of different colored plastic beads and students were given the task of picking out specific colored beads in different colored environments. We hypothesized that white prey items would be more difficult to pick out in a winter environment and that green prey items would be more difficult to pick out in a green spring environment. When we introduced the pearlescent beads to the population that looked very similar to the white beads, we hypothesized that predators would avoid the white beads all together.
The next time you see an animal in its environment you can ask your student how that animal might try and hide from predators, or sneak up on prey. What camouflage strategy might it be using?