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Newspaper Camouflage


This activity shows how organisms with a useful trait, in this case camouflage, blending in with one's environment, are selected (survive) over organisms that do not have the trait or have less of it.

You will need:
1. the classified ads from a newspaper
2. a piece of white construction paper
3. a piece of black construction paper
4. a hole punch
5. notebook or graph paper
6. pencil
7. ruler
8. stopwatch or someone to count seconds

Use the paper punch to punch out 100 holes each from black, white and classified ads paper. Lay a different sheet of classified ads flat on a table or floor, and spread the black, white and classified ad circles randomly over the newspaper on the table or floor.

You are the bird and the circles are moths on a tree. Pick up circles, one at a time, for thirty seconds. After thirty seconds, sort and count the circles that you picked up. Make a bar graph of how many of each color you picked up and "killed". Put the circles back and do it two more times.

Alternative: If you find yourself going for only one kind "moth" on purpose (maybe to mess up the experiment), lay down only black ones and pick up for ten seconds, then classified for ten seconds, then white for ten seconds.

Which color got picked up the most? The least? Why is it sometimes useful for an organism to blend in with its environment?


Many animals use camouflage. The lizard (top) and hare (middle) camouflage to avoid being noticed by predators. The wolf (bottom) camouflages to avoid being seen by its prey.