Why are polar bears white?
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tiger

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tiger

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katydid

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katydid

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toad

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toad

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all animals

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moths

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DISCUSS:

Why are polar bears white if they don’t have any predators (other animals that might want to eat them)?

Can you think of how this is helpful to them?

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Extensions

Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the activity and exploration you just completed.
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Visual Activity: Find the Animal

Here are two galleries of camouflaged animals. Be sure to make the images full screen.

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Readings

These Common Core aligned readings are free with registration on ReadWorks. All readings include comprehension questions.

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Video & Discussion: The Mixed Up Chameleon

Watch a video of The Mixed Up Chameleon.

Ask your students:

  • Why did the chameleon wish to be himself again?
  • Can you tell me all the ways that the chameleon changed himself?
  • How does being white help a polar bear? Why didn’t it help the chameleon?
  • Being tall helps a giraffe reach leaves high in the trees. Did the chameleon need to be tall?
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Print Prep
Activity Prep

In this Mystery, students make observations to construct an explanation of why camouflage is helpful to animals. In the activity, Moth Hide and Seek, students test their ability to spot camouflage moths, and then design a camouflage pattern for a moth of their own and hide it in the classroom!

Preview activity

COVID-19 Adaptations
Students can work solo
Digital worksheets available
See our advice below
Students need a printout

Students at home
Students at home may not be able to do the first part of the activity, but they can observe Step 5 of the activity instead. Students need the Look for Moths worksheet (printed or digital) and the Color a Moth printout (printed) to create their own moth in the second part of the activity.
Students at school
Students can do the first part of the activity as long everyone maintains a safe distance from each other while searching for moths in the classroom. Students can work solo for the second part of the activity (where they color their own camouflaged moth).
Number of students:
Color A Moth printout 1 per student
Look For Moths worksheet 1 per student
Moths For Teachers printout 1 per class
Stump #2 printout 1 per class
Stump #3 printout 1 per class
Tree #1 printout 1 per class
Tree #2 printout 1 per class
Tree #3 printout 1 per class
Crayons
Provide a variety of colors so students can create moths that camouflage in the classroom. Colored pencils or markers also work.
Details
3 crayons per student
Scissors
1 pair per student
Glue Dots
1 dot per student
Glue Dots
9 dots per class
Prep Instructions

Prepare Your Classroom Forest Before Class

Each tree takes a wall space measuring about 32" wide by 55" tall (about the size of a door). You can build your trees on an empty wall, a bulletin board, or on a door. The activity works best if you have three different bark patterns, but if you don’t have enough space (or time) to make three trees, you can make one tree and two stumps.

sample-tree-and-stump

To make your trees and/or stumps, follow these steps:

  • Cut out the pieces of each tree and stump by cutting on the dashed lines of the printouts. Then cut out the moths, following the instructions on the "Moths for Teachers" printouts.
  • Arrange the pieces on your wall to make trees and stumps, using glue dots or push pins to hold the paper in place. Watch this video to see how we did it.

Hide the Moths

You are going to hide paper moths for your students to find, and then your students will hide moths for you to find. Put a glue dot on the back of each moth and place it on a tree or stump — hide all nine moths. Put most of them on the bark that match, but put a few on the bark that don’t match, so that they are easy for your students to find.

moths-on-bark

Extensions
Download this Lesson to your device so you can play it offline: