Sunday, May 9, 2010

Science Sunday ~ Animal Disguises


This week we learned about animals who use disguises, camouflage, and even play-acting and why.  The kids already knew the why (thanks to Animal Planet) ~ to keep from being eaten or to hide so they can catch prey.  We read Amazing Animal Disguises written by Sandie Sowler.

Amazing Animal Disguises (Amazing worlds)

Some interesting facts we learned while reading:

Why Zebras have stripes ~ Lions (who are colorblind) are confused by a zebra’s stripes, which in the bright sun can disguise the zebra’s shape.  In dim light, the stripes of the zebras standing in herds, merge together and help the zebras blend into the background. 

image Some animals have color cells in their skin that allow them to change their skin color.  They do this to blend with the background, to show emotion (like love, aww!), and to cool down or heat up.   We made chameleons out of transparency paper to show how they change color.IMG_2397

An octopus can change the color, and the texture, of its skin.

imageWhen we finished reading the book, I asked the kids to tell me what animal they found most fascinating?

Emily’s thought the Javanese Leaf Insect was cool.  Looks like a real leaf doesn’t it!

javanese_leaf_insect01_sm.jpg: Javanese leaf insect

Aiden’s couldn’t stop talking about the opossum and the hognose snake, both play dead when threatened ~ typical boy.


This is a picture of a opossum playing dead.

To demonstrate how animals use camouflage we grabbed some of our plastic animals and insects and headed outside for a little hide and seek.


We took turns hiding the critters around the yard.  The first picture shows were we hid the animal/insect.  Can you see it and tell what it is?  We were amazed how hard it was to spot them!  The second picture is a close up.   imageimageimageEven though the animals and insects are plastic it really shows how they use camouflage to blend into their surroundings.

For more fun with science, check out Science Sunday at Adventures in Mommydom.



Ticia said...

I LVOE this! and maybe even love......
It took me awhile to find the moth in the picture, even knowing it was there. I need to remember this when we start on biology next year and the animals.

Mozi Esme said...

Great idea! My daughter is fascinated with animals right now, so she'd love this...

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Really excellent ideas. I don't know which I like more, the transparent chameleon, or hiding the animals according to camouflage. Very nice!

Anonymous said...

How fun! The hunt was a great idea.

Unknown said...

Oh my- who WOULDN'T want a "pet" chameleon like THAT...

P.S. haven't been to your site in a bit, and I just wanted to mention how MUCH I love your new background!

Virginia Lee said...

This is great. What a fun experiment for multiple ages. We will have to remember this for when we do our animal adaptations unit.

Anonymous said...

oo love the plastic animal camouflage activity! I think the playing dead is pretty funny too ;-) Funny opossum story, when I was in 3rd grade we got assigned an animal to research and write a little one page paper on. My was the opossum.. which I didn't know how to spell. I raised my hand to ask for help. The teacher was being a stick in the mud and said to sound it out. Which I obviously could not do! Most of the kids had their papers done by the end of the class. But I had to go home and work on mine. I remember being so upset that I didn't know how to do this I was in tears. My mom explained how to spell opossum and I worked on my paper. I was still pretty upset by the whole thing so my dad tried to make me feel better and said, "The o is for when you run it over with the car you say ohhhh possum!" To this day when I see a dread opossum I think of my dad and say ohhhhh possum!

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