Caterpillar camouflage game

Activity

Learn about the importance of colour for survival with this fun game and begin to understand how plants have adaptations that help them to survive.

  • Estimated time: 45 minutes
  • Location: Outdoors & Indoors
  • School term: All year round
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): Science, Geography

Learning objectives

  • Become familiar with the words camouflage and adapted
  • Discover how plants and animals use camouflage for survival
  • Understand that some animals and plants are adapted to their environment by colour

Preparation

Have the wool caterpillars hidden ready and play this game as an introduction.
See if the learners can identify the aim of the game.
How does it relate to other animals and plants?

Equipment

  • Wool in various colours, cut to 10cm lengths
  • Collecting board prepared with strips of double-sided tape or Velcro
  • Pictures of animals from hot and cold places
  • Examples of plants with clear adaptations eg succulents, cactus, flowering plants or cut flowers

Ideas for next steps

Sort a set of animal pictures into hot and cold habitats. What similarities do you notice about each group? What unique features do they have to help them survive the weather?

Look at a set of plants – can you sort them into groups? How do you think they survive extreme weather conditions?

Step by step

  1. Cut strips of coloured wool into 10cm lengths (these are the caterpillars).
  2. Hide 'caterpillars' in an agreed area – hang from branches, lay on the ground etc.
  3. ​Give learners a minute to find as many wool 'caterpillars' as possible with the set rule that they must stick each piece of wool on the collecting board in order, as they find it.
  4. Take another 2 minutes to find more hidden wool pieces and stick on the board as before.
  5. Look at the collected 'caterpillars'
  6. What do the results tell us?
  7. What colour caterpillar would you choose to be and why?
  8. What colour flower would you choose to be and why?


Hints & tips

  • Generally the brighter coloured wool will be found first and will be be stuck in the first section of the collecting board
  • Investigate the advantages and disadvantages of specific adaptations in plants and animals
  • Look for examples of how camouflage is a useful adaptation 
  • Extension activity – Find out about Darwin’s finches
     

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