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A Teacher's Guide


Animal Disguises

Discussion

Begin your study of Animal Disguises by Belinda Weber with a discussion about what your students know about disguises. Questions can include:
    • Name some animals that camouflage themselves.
    • When do some animals disguise their appearances?
    • What are some ways different animals disguise themselves?
    • Can fish become camouflaged?
    • Why is it important that a baby animal be camouflaged?
As the children give their answers, start creating a KWL chart to keep track of the many things they know and would like to know about animal disguises. As the class reads the book, refer back to the KWL chart and add new things they learn.

Sample KWL Chart:

Animal Disguises
What we know about animal disguises
What we would like to learn about animal disguises
What we learned about animal disguises
Some animals can change their appearance when the weather changes.

Why does the arctic fox get a white coat in the winter?

The arctic fox gets a white coat in the winter so it can sneak up on its prey and not be seen against a snowy landscape.


    Standards:
    Language Arts:
    • Generates questions about topics of interest
    • Uses a variety of sources to gather information
    • Makes contributions in class and group discussions
    • Relates new information to prior knowledge and experience

Highlighted vocabulary words are found at the bottom of the pages in the book. Additional words from the text that you should focus on are:

camouflage (page 6)
blend (page 8)
rain forest (page 11)
riverbed (page 15)
algae (page 21)
countershading (page 22)
squabble (page 30)
tufts (page 30)
menu (page 36)
anglers(page 37)


    Standards:
    Language Arts/Reading:
    • Uses word reference materials to determine the meaning and pronunciation of unknown words
    • Uses a variety of context clues to decode unknown words


Have the children pick a camouflaged animal they would like to write about. As a prewriting activity, have them answer these questions: What animal are you? What environment do you live in? Is it dry? It is cold? How do you camouflage yourself? Are you a predator or prey? How does being camouflaged help you?

Ask them to write a first person narrative about what they are thinking while camouflaged as a predator hiding to catch its food or as the prey trying to hide from the predator. They should leave the type of animal out of their stories, so that when they present their stories to the class, the others can guess which animal they are. Be sure the students provide clues to which animals they are. Clues should include predator or prey, color, how they camouflage themselves, environment, and so forth.

    Standards:
    Language Arts/Writing:
    • Uses a variety of sources to gather information
    • Summarizes information in own words

    Language Arts/Communication Skills:
    • Organizes ideas for oral presentations
    • Makes basic oral presentations to class

Materials that might be needed:

shoe box or small carton
paintable clay
cotton
grass clippings
white glue
soil
twigs
tempra
oak tag
scissors
sand


Using the stories that your students wrote in the activity above, ask them to make dioramas about their animals. They should camouflage them as they would be in their environments. The children could draw and mount the animals on sticks or model them using paintable clay. The list above suggests some materials that could be useful. They should decide what other materials they can use to make their dioramas more realistic. Display the projects with the stories the children wrote in your science center.


    Standards:
    Visual Arts:
    • Uses visual structures and functions of art to communicate ideas
    • Knows the different kinds of media, technique, and processes that are used to create works of art



Animal Disguises Match

Each animal has a particular way that it camouflages itself to hide from other animals. Match the animal to it's camouflaged disguise.

1. Leaf-tailed gecko
2. Crocodile
3. Giraffe
4. Milk snake
5. Shingleback lizard
6. Stargazer fish
7. Tiger
8. Marsupial frog
9. Snowshoe hare
10. Butterfly fish
a. coat blends with shadows on grass
b. false eyes
c. coat turns white in winter
d. can be mistaken for a floating log
e. looks like the forest floor
f. coat looks like patches of shade
g. its tail looks like its head
h. looks like dead leaves
i. buries itself in the seabed
j. looks like the coral snake


Answers to "Animal Disguises Match":

1. Leaf-tailed gecko
2. Crocodile
3. Giraffe
4. Milk snake
5. Shingleback lizard
6. Stargazer fish
7. Tiger
8. Marsupial frog
9. Snowshoe hare
10. Butterfly fish
h. looks like dead leaves
d. can be mistaken for a floating log
f. coat looks like patches of shade
j. looks like the coral snake
g. its tail looks like its head
i. buries itself in the seabed
a. coat blends with shadows on grass
e. looks like the forest floor
c. coat turns white in winter
b. false eyes






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