vertebrates and invertebrates. Well, not every unit I teach is done in isolation; I like to make connections and spiral back and blur the lines between topics whenever it's conducive to learning. One lesson that can really go in either unit, so it tends to end up either in the middle the animal units or after both is my lesson on camouflage. This is one of those projects that I look forward to every year because the kids get a constant reminder of it.
I start out by asking the kids to each pick a "spot" in the room that will become a "habitat" for an animal. Then we color our paper to look like the spot. As an example I color a wood grain pattern on my paper to look like my door. I layer on color to make it not just look brown, but the right shade of almost orange-y brown.
Next, I challenge kids to think about what type of animal might live there. A moth could spend some time on the door. A bird might be found up by the ceiling. What adaptations make both of those animals suited for being up high?
After completing a processing sheet that requires them to describe their habitat, animal, and its adaptations, I let them tape their animal to its "spot" (unless it's out of reach, in which case I climb things to make it work).
I put each animal's "twin" on a poster. This year I took it a step further, and put them in a zoo! I was hoping it would spark discussion and concern for caged animals as opposed to those still in the wild, but this group didn't take the bait. Maybe next year. On the other hand, one of my students who doesn't always shine in every academic area referred to the matching animals, not as twins, but as doppelgangers! I was so shocked and impressed with that vocabulary word that I included it on the poster. :D
The animals are left up all year round as a teaser. Soon we'll be be ready to clean our room and it will be a nice reminder of an activity they did "a long time ago." I treat it like a scavenger hunt. "Can anyone find a camouflaged animal that is NOT their own?" At the end, any animals that are only visible to their creator are deemed the most well adapted and thus the winners!
|The hawk IS there, but very hard to see!|
"It's right there!"
"No, I'm not, it's really there!"
"It IS. You just can't see it because it's camouflaged! Right Mrs. Thomas?"