The word "camouflage" comes from a French word
that means "to disguise." Nature is full of remarkable examples
of animals — and even plants — that are disguised to escape
the notice of their enemies.
- As a class,
list as many examples you can of camouflage in nature. Search through
nature magazines and find photos for examples. How does each animal
manage to blend in with its surroundings?
Help the students develop their vocabulary to describe visual observations.
Words like color, pattern, form, and texture are helpful.
each student a butterfly template so all of the butterflies will be
the same size. Challenge students to design their butterfly so that
its color, pattern, form and texture match a place in the classroom
where their butterfly will be hidden.
- As a class,
discuss the rules you will set. Try to match some of nature's "rules."
(Clever students may ask if their butterfly can rest with its wings
closed. Point out that butterfly behavior is an important part of successful
camouflage, as we've seen with the monarchs.)
If possible, ask an art teacher to share what she knows about ways artists
play with color and light to create illusions of space, form, and movement.
the butterflies are completed and concealed in their hiding places,
bring on the predators! Bring one predator into the room at a time.
With a stopwatch keep track of the time it takes to find all of the
butterflies. Also record the order in which the butterflies were found.
Run at least three trials, and compare the predators' success.
butterflies were the most difficult to find? Why?
were the easiest? Why?
- What general
statements can you make about butterfly camouflage?