Field Trips

The Camouflage Trail

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Grade Level:
Lower Elementary: Pre-Kindergarten through Second Grade


On this field trip, students will gain an understanding of the concept of camouflage and adaptation. This outdoor activity could also be done in another natural area.

Skin and fur coloration for animals that live at Great Sand Dunes is an essential component for survival. Explore Great Sand Dunes' web pages on animals (mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, fish, and insects) for more on camouflage.


Ten to fifteen manmade objects


Choose a short segment along a trail near the dunes. Place 10 to 15 man-made objects at different heights on the trail. Some of them should stand out brightly, like balloons or florescent markers. Others should blend into the colors of the trail and be more difficult to see. Do not tell the students how many objects you planted, but keep a list for yourself so you don't leave anything behind when you leave. Have students walk silently along the trail one at a time, with a one or two minute interval between them. The students are to spot as many of the objects as they can. After all the students have gathered together with an adult who was sent first along the trail, discuss what they saw. Ask the group how many objects they saw, or, if you prefer, make a list together or in journals. Walk back as a group along the trail picking up each item as you pass it. 


Questions for group discussion:

  1. Did the things everyone saw have anything in common? What?
  2. Did the things fewer people saw have anything in common? What? 


In the classroom, have students create their own small animals as an art project using clay, pipe cleaners, or other materials. Have the class 'hide' their animals in plain sight (not inside a desk, etc.). Invite another class into your room to find the animals. Were any not found? What was unique about those? You can also do this with a single class, half at a time.

Last updated: January 4, 2016