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Chameleon Day

Science Lesson
for Chameleon Day

The students will experiment with camouflage and relate it to chameleons in their natural environments.


  • Manipulatives which are handy in the classroom, such as blocks, counting bears, scrap pieces of construction paper, marbles, cotton balls, etc.  See step 1 below to help determine the materials to be gathered.
  • Camouflage Worksheet (for older students)
  • A book about camouflage, such as Hard to See Animals (Rookie Read-About Science) by Allan Fowler, Disguises and Surprises by Claire Llewellyn, or any of the How to Hide a ______ series by Ruth Heller.
  • A link to the following site: Disappearing act if available.



  1. Create a camouflage demonstration by gathering a collection of any of the above mentioned manipulatives.  For example, put red and yellow counting bears in a see through container or in an open box.  Then add some red and yellow scraps of paper along with some green and blue scraps.  Mix the contents up.  Discuss with the students how much easier it is to see and find the green and blue scraps rather than the orange and yellow ones. 
  2. Relate this activity to the process of chameleons camouflaging themselves.  Point out that chameleons are not always trying to hide themselves.  Sometimes they change color in response to temperature, moods, and whether they are sick.
  3. Show the link to the above mentioned web site and how movement affects camouflage in addition to color and markings.  (If the link is not available on your computer, it demonstrates how a moving object against a similarly colored background is easier to see than a still object.  This can be shown by moving a small piece of colored paper across a bigger piece of the same color as opposed to keeping it still.)
  4. Pass out the Camouflage Worksheet and have the students complete it individually or in pairs.
  5. Older students may work in groups to create their own collection of items and present a camouflage demonstration to the rest of the class.
  6. Read the chosen book on camouflage.

Other Lesson Ideas

  1. Have the class research animals with prehensile tails and how they use them.
  2. Read a variety of nonfiction chameleon books.  Make fact lists about chameleons.
  3. Have a lesson on how chameleons capture their prey with long, sticky tongues.  Compare this feature to other animal tongues.


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