Grasshopper in camouflage
Find My Critter
This activity is best performed as a follow-up to Insect
Design. Review aspects of the general external morphology of
an insect as learned in the previous activity.
Explore Great Sand Dunes’ web page on Insects for more on the unique endemic species of the park.
Gather enough leaves, sticks, twigs, pebbles, and rocks from the
ground in your school yard to enable each student to create a stick
Select a trail or walkway around the school or playground. It should
be about 80 feet long. Walk it with the students. Let students know
that they are going to make insects that should blend in against
the background vegetation and/or geology. They will not be able
to cover their insects with anything, but will place their insect
within five feet of either side of the trail.
Give students 30 to 45 minutes to create their insects. If glue
is used to produce their insects, allow plenty of time to dry. Using
thin strips of masking tape and then using markers (or paint) to
camouflage the tape may be an alternative. Have an aid or parent
volunteer escort students one at a time to hide their insects along
Once everyone has finished and secretly placed their insect on
the trail, challenge the students to find as many of the insects
as possible. Tell the students not to speak, but to silently take
note of the insects they have seen and to make a list describing
what the insects they spotted looked like. Collect the lists. Now
let each student point out his or her insect.
Which ones were the most difficult to see? Discuss why they were
difficult to see.
Discuss why some insects were easier to spot than others. For those
insects that were spotted easily, bring up the topic of adverse
colorationcolors that attract attention. Explain that some
organisms are colored for visibility and that adverse colorations
tell predators that they would be an untasty or even poisonous meal.
Can you think of any insects that have adverse coloration?
Adapted from Educator's Guide to Great Sand Dunes, by Lori
Cooper, Friends of the Dunes.