} CAS: Teachers - Sketching: Colorful Coral Reef

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Connected Experience: Sketching: Colorful Coral Reef

Abstract

In this activity, students will learn that color is an important adaptation for many coral reef organisms, and find all the colors of the rainbow within the California Academy of Sciences’ coral reef. 

Objectives

In this activity, students will:

  1. learn that color is an important adaptation for many coral reef organisms.
  2. find all the colors of the rainbow within the California Academy of Sciences’ coral reef.

Materials

  • Coral Reef Color Wheel (1 per student)
  • colored pencils, crayons, or markers
  • pencils to sketch at the museum

Vocabulary

  • adaptation: a change in the way an organism looks or behaves that improves its chance of survival in a specific environment

Activity

Before Your Visit

Introduction

Tell your students that they will be going to go to the California Academy of Sciences and will see a living coral reef that is extremely colorful. Tell them that color is something that can help an organism survive in its environment. Ask them why color might be an important adaptation for an organism. Example answers include camouflage, attracting a mate, and signaling that it is poisonous.

Procedure

  1. Give each student a copy of the Coral Reef Color Wheel.
  2. Have students color the outer sections of the color wheel on both sides of the handout. For example, the students color the section that says “RED” with a red crayon or colored pencil.
  3. Make sure to tell students to leave the inner portions of the color wheel blank for sketching and writing at the California Academy of Sciences.
  4. Tell students that there is already one example sketch on their worksheet and that they will find coral reef creatures of many different colors to fill in the rest of the coral reef color wheel at the California Academy of Sciences.

At the Museum

Procedure

  1. At the California Academy of Sciences, instruct students to find something of each color within the coral reef exhibit.
  2. Students fill in the rest of the color wheel with their own drawings.
  3. Ask students to fill in the other side of the wheel with text explaining why each organism has that coloring. (For example: the lionfish is red to signal it has poisonous spines.)

California Content Standards

Grade Three

Life Sciences

  • 3a. Students know plants and animals have structures that serve different functions in growth, survival, and reproduction.

Grade Four

Life Sciences

  • 3b. Students know that in any particular environment, some kinds of plants and animals survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.

 

Background

“Blue, red, yellow, green—a rainbow of color sparkles on the reef. Because coral reefs grow in clear, sunny waters, animals can use color to communicate. Color helps attract mates, fool predators or signal danger. Some use it to advertise gender or age; others hide behind it—right before your eyes.” – California Academy of Sciences’ Steinhart Aquarium Text

 

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