This week's lesson is about camouflage and natural selection. Give it a try! You really only need logic to perform this experiment. First, gather your materials, watch the video, and follow the next steps in the blog below.
What You Need
Fifty or more “Rabbits”. Small objects in at least six different colors. I use colored toothpicks, but it could be anything tiny and of consistent shape. You may want to make sure some of the color pallet of nature is represented and not just vivid hues. For example, use a combination of bright colors with brown, black, or gray.
An area for conducting your experiment should be large enough that when you throw out a handful of rabbits you need to hunt for them. An ideal area has two or more “habitats”, such as part grass and part leaf cover. If you are completely indoors then this will also work on the floor of your home. Although you may have to adjust the size of rabbits or testing area to make it difficult.
Graphing on Paper or Whiteboard
This is more important for learners over age three. The detail in which you will analyze your data is tied to developmental ability. Try answering what questions you can at the end of this lesson.
Distribute the rabbits around the testing area without the student seeing. Do not hide them, but it should be a challenge to find them. You should throw out at least five of each color and equal numbers of each color. These rabbits will be “hunted” by the student(s).
Set a timer for one minute and begin the hunt. Your little predator should try catching as many rabbits as possible before the time ends. If your child is very young you may simply look at what colors were caught and consider what colors remained hidden. Older learners write down the number of survivors in each color and proceed to step three. Note we are not recording the number we caught, rather the number that escaped and are still out there. If you put out five blue rabbits and caught three, then two escaped.
Repopulate the testing area and repeat. Give each surviving rabbit a baby. If two blue escaped then add two more blue to the test area. If four yellow survived add four more, etc. When you repeat your one minute hunt you can add your results to a graph. Repeat this as many times as you like to form a graph of each color.
Interpret your data after some number of repetitions. Answer the following questions. What were the most successful and least successful colors? Success is measured by how many of that color remain over multiple repetitions of the experiment.
Do the successful colors match the colors of the test area?
How did the mix of colors change over time?
How would your test area look at different times of the year?
Did different “habitats” in the test area favor different colors?
Why do you think wild rabbits are the color they are?
Why are there no pink bunny rabbits?
We would love to hear from you, so please share your discoveries in the comments!
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