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The Use of Color among Marine Life
| This activity is designed to teach
first and second graders the importance of color useage among different
marine animals. In the activity the teacher will need to place different
colors and patterns of construction paper slightly submerged in the
sand. The kids will gather around the playground sand to see what
colors and patterns they see first. Each piece will demonstrate an
adaptation using color that different animals in the ocean use to
camouflage, protect, or advertise themselves.
description or introduction
The scientific principles
that the activity is founded on.
|Color has been used as protection,
camouflage and intimidation by marine animals for millons of years.
Protection through use of various colors or distorted coloration patterns,
camouflage happens when an animal uses other organisms, sand, rocks
and plants that are prevalent in their environment to blend in; and
intimidation by use of bright colors to advertise being poisionous.
In the epipelgic (open-ocean) there are not rocks and tons of plants
to hide behind. The organisms that live here have to have some ways
of being less obvivous. Protective coloration, or camouflage is
a very popular method. One of the easiest and most affective ways
to blend with your envirnoment is to be transparent, then your preadtor
looks through you rather than at you. This method is used among
some jellyfishes, salps, zooplankton(microscopic animals), larvaceans,
and comb jellys.
Another very common method is countershading. This is where the
back of the animal is dark colored and the belly is light colored.
This is so if a predator is viewing you from the top it sees deep
blue ocean, and if it sees you from the bottom you blend with the
light being filtered through the water. Most epipelgic fish also
have slivery sides that reflect light. This helps them blend when
either viewed from the side or from below. It is also common for
them to have distorted coloration patterns or vertical bars that
help break up their outline.
In closer to shore, animals use some additional techniques. Some
small fish for example have a dark spot near the middle of their
body which serves as a "fake eye", which makes them appear to be
a larger fish. The rock fish is a master of camouflage by perfectly
blending in with the bottom of the sea floor and patiently waiting
for unsuspecting prey to swim by.Many other animals use sand, other
organisms, plants, coral and other very common things in their environment
to blend in with.
Another technique that is much more obvivous is that of intimidation.
This methods is used when a organsim wants to advertise that it
is poisionous. This is done through the use of bright reds and yellows,
as in the fire sponge a bright red that has toxins in its spicules.
I have listed a great web-site and textbook to get several different
examples of animals displaying these techniques.
for the activity
time to do the activity
|Show students several different
methods in which marine life use color to aid in survival.
|Guide students though the steps
of observational science.
| Build an appreciation of the
diversity in the worlds oceans.
|Show students that all living
and non-living things are important in the world.
Science Education Standards. (NSES)
content standards that this lesson plan covers:
|An organism's patterns of
behavior are related to the nature of that organisms environment,
including the kinds and numbers of the other organisms present, the
availability of food and resources, and the physical characteristics
of the environment.
|All animals depend on plants.
Some animals eat plants for food. Other animals eat animals that eat
plants. (This one is indirectly related).
- construction paper (one package of multicolored)
- sand (playground is perfect)
|set-up a work station for the
kids to cut and paste and equipped with above listed materials. Prepare
a short dialog with pictures introducing them to the topic. From given
web-sites and textbook find pictures to illustrate what techniques
in patricular you are going to focus on.
Procedure for the Activity
This activity is for the whole class, have the kids do much of
the cutting and pasting, helping only if needed. Take a red, light
brown and yellow piece of construction paper and set them aside.
Next take a black piece and cut out strips. Glue the strips in vertical
lines on to a yellow piece of paper. Make four of these and cut
out a simple outline of a fish when the glue is dry. Next take the
light brown and red paper and cut out two fish outlines in each
Without the kids present take the red, light brown, and stripped
fish patterns to the playground. Go to playground and place the
red and light brown fish slightly submerged in the sand. Then take
the stripped fish far enough away that the kids will not see them
first, and place them in a clustered fashion. Next bring out the
kids and ask them which fish they can see first. Talk about why
the red one is easier to see and why this important to fish in the
ocean. Then bring them over to the second section and have one kid
be the predator and four kids hold a fish and huddle in a group,
have them move around in a haphazard manner. Have the predator chase
after them and try to catch one prey. After the kids settle down
ask the whole class what the advantages and disadvantages are to
having confusing patterns. Did it make it more difficult to select
one prey and follow it around in a darting fashion?
work sheets, additional web pages
for discussion or conclusion
|Give some other examples of
animals that use these color patterns on land. (Zebras, birds, etc.)
|What is the connection between
surviving in the ocean and color?
|What are some other ways animals
in the ocean protect themselves?
|This activity is geared towards
teaching kids early about different ways animals, not just marine
life, use color to help get food or prevent them from being food.
It also it meant to show kids that not just things that are alive
are important, because many things are needed to sustain life, such
as shelter, blending with the enviroment, water, and air. The main
idea is to get the kids to connect color to performing a function
for survival rather than just to make thing pretty for us to look
at. Our goal is to teach the kids that things on our planet are always
changing and finding better ways to cope with everyday life, and to
demonstrate that there is always more than one way to slove a problem.
activities which relate to and extend the complexity of the experiment.
|The following class
period have a short quiz asking the kids what they learned about color.
Also could bring in a video or picture book showing more real life
examples of marine life, or better yet other animals on land using
the same basic principles.
A web address with information on the topic of the activity.