Cabinets of Curiosity activity 4: camouflage and mimicry in nature
Use the Learn with Objects site as a starting point to explore how plants and animals have evolved different colours and patterns to survive. Have a look at:
- butterflies and moths in A Cabinet of Curiosities: 2
- bee and spider orchids in in A Cabinet of Curiosities: 8
Increased knowledge and understanding of plants and animals, and how they evolve to survive. The use of colour, camouflage and mimicry in nature.
KS1-2 Science (living things, plants and animals, colour, camouflage, classification).
KS1-2 art (drawing animals and plants)
Discuss how some plants and animals, like some butterflies and moths, have developed camouflage to blend into the background to avoid being eaten, and how others have developed bright colours, as a warning they are poisonous.
Discuss how some plants like the bee and spider orchids mimic insects to encourage pollination.
Set children the challenge to discover some of the other plants and insects of the Kent Downs (or wider world) that use camouflage, colour, pattern or mimicry to gain an evolutionary advantage.
Here are just a few useful websites and videos:
Natural History Museum video about the mimicry of the bee orchid and late spider orchid https://www.nhm.ac.uk/discover/sneaky-orchids-manipulate-bees-pollination.html
Other websites about bee and late spider orchids
These sites explore colour, camouflage and mimicry in nature
This is a great website to explore all British species of wildlife https://www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/wildlife-explorer
Choose a species of animal or plant that uses camouflage, colour or mimicry to gain an advantage.
Create a record sheet of your chosen species - inspired by the record sheets of the Bee and Late Spider Orchids in Cabinet of Curiosities 8; flower.
It could include a detailed illustration, the common (English) name of your plant or animal, its Latin name, a scale showing its size in cm, and a few interesting facts about it.
Look at the different ways plants and animals are recorded in the wild today, including tagging and mass species surveys involving the public.
Learn with Objects links
See A Cabinet of Curiosities 2: butterflies and moths and 8: flowers for inspiration.