I'm preparing to teach a Language Arts unit titled, "Look
Again: Animal Camouflage" to second graders. Students naturally
question why some animals do not seem too pre-occupied with hiding
themselves; i.e., a male peacock or a brightly colored macaw from a South
American rain forest. How about a giant panda? How would you respond?
It is a great opportunity to discuss possible reasons for that sort of
behavior or trait to have evolved. Why do fish swim in schools? There are a
number of educated guesses...I like the one where the fish inside the school
are protected from predation...I have never bought the one where there is
some sort of genetic drive for altruistic behavior and the schooling
behavior somehow protects or advances the survival of the fish in
general...at any rate it make for great discourse and if directed under the
force of natural selection it can make students intellectually stronger
through an excersise of sound scientific reasoning.
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Update: June 2012