Keywords: adaptation, camouflage, predators, and prey; Lesson Plan Grade Level: fifth grade; Total Time Required for Lesson: 50 minutes; Setting: classroom

Goals for the Lesson

  • Students will understand why animals need to adapt to their environments.
  • Students will see how coloring, markings, and physical actions can make an animal better adapted to its environment.

Materials Needed

  • several sheets of wrapping paper of three different kinds (one patterned and the other two of different solid colors).
  • scissors
  • timer

State Standards Addressed: E & E Standards: Ecosystems and Their Interactions (4.6); Threatened, Endangered, and Extinct Species (4.7)

Teaching Model: Experiential Learning Model

Subjects Covered: science

Topics: animal adaptations, camouflage, predators, and prey

Experience Phase


  • Collect various examples of animals that have adapted to their surroundings. Some examples could include: the anole, snakes, butterflies, stick bugs, praying mantis.

Doing the Activity

  • Explain to the students that they are going to be conducting an experiment that will show how important camouflage is to certain types of animals. Show the pictures you collected to the class of the various animals that adapt to their surroundings.
  • Tell students that protective coloring often times helps animals hide form their predators.
  • Have students cut out 12 butterflies from the patterned paper and 12 from each of the solid papers.
  • Have one student in the group place one full piece of patterned paper on the floor and place the 36 butterflies on it carefully.
  • Set the timer to 10 seconds with one student's eyes covered.
  • Start timer and have the student pick up as many butterflies as he or she can in the 10 seconds.
  • Compare results from the camouflaged butterflies to the solid ones.


  • Students will do a collage of animals in their environments that are camouflaged well.


Look at the results. Compare the camouflaged butterfly captures to the solid ones. Was there a difference? Why or Why not?


Williams, Lisa M., Margaret C. Brittingham, and Sanford S. Smith (2001). The Wildlife Ecologist . University Park, Pa.: The Pennsylvania State University.


Jonathan Lock, Bushkill Elementary, Nazareth School District