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Camouflage Techniques

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Author: Judee Shipman

Grade Level: 9th - 12th; Type: Cognitive Science

Objective: 

Create a camouflage display. The goals of this project are:     

  1. To study the mechanisms of camouflage.     
  2. To illustrate the practical applications of camouflage technology.     

Research Questions:     

  • How do creatures change color to camouflage themselves?     
  • How are commercially available camouflage products designed?     
  • What were the camouflage techniques used by humans in ancient times?    

Animals camouflage themselves in nature, blending in with their immediate surroundings. Early humans would cover themselves with the head and hide of a coyote, in order to get within arrow-shooting distance of their next meal. Native Americans used it in the battle and the hunt, and called it Invisible Medicine. This project explores the art and science of camouflage. The result will be a fascinating camouflage display.

Materials:

  • Computer with Internet access   
  • Color printer     
  • Digital camera     
  • Binoculars     
  • Typical office/hobby/hardware/craft supplies (paper, poster board, glue, etc.)

All materials can be found in your home, at local stores, or on ebay.

Experimental Procedure:     

  1. Read overview of relevant topics (see bibliography below and terms listed above)     
  2. Address all of the above terms and research questions.     
  3. Search and print out interesting images relevant to your topic.     
  4. Take photographs throughout the course of the experiment.     
  5. Find and record examples of different kinds of camouflage (nature camouflage, human camouflage, motion camouflage, mimicry)     
  6. Test camouflage quality by timing volunteers. Calculate the average length of time it takes for the viewer to recognize the subject.     
  7. Carefully record all observations.     
  8. Design and create your own camouflage presentation.     
  9. Include interesting photos, diagrams, models and artwork in your science fair display.  

Terms/Concepts: Anti-predator adaptation; Biochromes; Chromatophores ; Crypsis ; Military camouflage; Motion camouflage

References:

 

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