1. Mariposas


The purpose of this lesson is to start a dialog on the importance of adaptations to a species and individuals survival.  In the end students will understand how animals use camouflage for survival.  Students will also begin to understand that it is the environment that controls which adaptations will help in survival.  Students will be able to define and comfortably use the vocabulary words: adaptation, camouflage, predator, prey, and habitat.


  1. Science Journals
  2. Downloaded Netlogo either on student accessible computers or on teachers computer with a projector (This part of the lesson is optional)
  3. A copy of a butterfly/moth pattern.  Journey North has a great one for their Symbolic Monarch Migration.  Students could also make their own. Here's a butterfly template. 

Intro to lesson:

Students will brainstorm in Cornell notes traits organisms need to survive.  Have students pair share, or talk in table groups before making a class list of these traits.  Steer toward the use of camouflage for prey animals to hide from predators.


  1. Have the class discuss the industrial revolution in England and the effects the pollution had on the peppered moth population.  You may choose to do this with or after the use of the simulation of peppered moths on NETLOGO.   With the middle school, it is suggested to use the simulation whole class,
  2. The students will now use their understanding of camouflage and how the environment affects it by creating a moth to camouflage in the classroom.  Have more than one class do this and have them find each other’s moths throughout the next couple of days.  See which class has the most undiscovered moths.

Tying up the loose ends:

Have students write a summary in notes on importance of adaptations, and what controlled the change in moth colors in our simulation.

Activity idea from Angela Personeni, Science teacher in Fiddletown, Ca.