Who Lives Here?


The students will participate in an activity that will reinforce the importance of adaptations and camouflage in a habitat. This activity will take approximately 45 minutes and is designed for a third grade class.

Purpose (Objective):

The students will be able to identify camouflage as an example of adaptation and describe the importance of adaptations.

* Science 3.9 b

Science concepts. The student knows that species have different adaptations that help them survive and reproduce in their environment. The student is expected to analyze how adaptive characteristics help individuals within a species to survive and reproduce.


Cutouts of different insects or spiders (colored to blend into the classroom)

Homemade habitat with vegetation and an insect suited to it (can have more than one)

Photographs of animals who use camouflage as a source of adaptation

* Animals to be used in the habitat jars- leafhoppers, tree frog, walking stick, grasshopper, earthworm, etc....

Getting Ready (Background Information):

An important concept is that of adaptation. It is a survival technique used by animals to survive in their surroundings, whether it be climate, soil, water, vegetation, or other forms. Animals that use camouflage are interesting to observe and they illustrate the importance of adaptations. Some habitats that could be shown to the students are: a jar with green-leaf branches and leafhoppers; some twigs and a walking stick; dirt or compost material with earthworms; green-leaf branches from a tree with a caterpillar; and twigs with a moth larva.

Motivation (Engage):

In the room, there are several cutouts of animals. They are sorted throughout the classroom and are colored to blend into their surrounding. Raise your hand and tell me if you see one of them.

Activity (Explore):

What we will be looking at is a source of adaptation to survival by many animals. This technique is called camouflage. This is when an animal is colored and/or shaped to blend into their habitat for protection. I have several containers up here, some have animals in them and some do not. We will examine them one at a time. I will ask for two or three volunteers to come up and observe the containers. At that time you will describe what you see - the type of vegetation, colors and if you see an insect in there. Repeat for every container.

Safety Tips:

None applied

Concept Discovery (Explanation):

Talk with the students about how each animal is adapted to survive in their habitat. Talk about other ways animals may be adapted to survive - by color (ex. red and black means it either tastes bad or is poisonous), by features on their bodies, by shape of their body, or by behavior.

Going Further (Elaboration):

Have the students look in magazines or photographs of animals and see their adaptations. Examine how the animals interact with their habitat. For example, the walking stick moving slowly to mimic the twigs it lives on. If the animals can be released on school grounds, have the students release them in an area that resembles the type of habitat it was in. If time permits, have the students discuss or make a mini habitat of their own with an insect.


Review with the students the important vocabulary they have learned (camouflage, adaptation, mimicry, habitat). Have them summarize the importance of adaptations that animals use to survive. The grade will count for twenty points: five points for each of the two animals, and five points for each method of camouflage.

Assessment (Evaluation):

Evaluate the students participation in motivational activity and their observations of the habitat jars. Have the students write down and turn in a piece of paper naming at least two animals that use camouflage for survival and how they camouflage themselves.

Connections (Integration's with Other Content Areas):

Language Arts/ Reading-

The students can write a story pretending to be an insect in a camouflaged habitat. Have them write a detailed description of their habitat and about the experiences they would encounter with other animals.


Have them draw a picture of an additional animal that would be camouflaged in a habitat. After they draw their pictures have them share them with their peers.

* Adapted from Surprise Terrarium lesson in Project Wild Activity Guide.

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