Jim Allison: Breakthrough

Phenomena: Color Changing Chameleon

Contributor: Chamalot Chameleons

Type Category: Instructional Materials

Types: Animation/Movie, Phenomenon

Note: This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Description

A ninety second video of a chameleon changing from a dark blue-green to a bright orange-yellow color. This resource evaluation suggests how teachers might use the phenomena of color changing chameleons to introduce the concept of adaptations.

Intended Audience
Learner

Educational Level
Upper Elementary
Middle School

Language
English

Access Restrictions
Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectation

3-LS4-2  Use evidence to construct an explanation for how the variations in characteristics among individuals of the same species may provide advantages in surviving, finding mates, and reproducing.

Clarification Statement:

Examples of cause and effect relationships could be plants that have larger thorns than other plants may be less likely to be eaten by predators; and, animals that have better camouflage coloration than other animals may be more likely to survive and therefore more likely to leave offspring.

Assessment Boundary:

none

This resource was not designed to build towards this performance expectation, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation

Chameleons are naturally green, so they blend into their environment to camouflage them from predators. By changing color, the chameleon can attract a mate or scare off a predator, allowing them to survive better than their less-colorful relatives. Most, but not all, chameleons have the ability to change color. After watching the short clip, the teacher might want to pose these questions to the students: -Why are some reasons that the chameleon might want to change his color? -Why might he want to blend in with his background? -Why might he want to stand out from his background? -We are not able to change our skin color. Why do you think that the chameleon can change his color but we can not? At the end of the lesson/unit, the teacher might want to share this video explaining how chameleons actually do change color: http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/til/151229-sciex-jason-jaacks-chameleons-change-color Chameleons are naturally green, so they do not change their color to blend in with their surroundings, but instead change color in response to what is happening in their environment.

Science and Engineering Practice

This resource was not designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice

Students should watch the chameleon change color and construct an explanation about (1) why the color change is happening, and (2) how the color change takes place. It is suggested that you use the video clip to introduce a unit on adaptation, so to more fully address the practice the teacher would need to continue the instruction with an activity such as one where the students could design their own adaptation.

Disciplinary Core Idea

This resource was not designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea

While most chameleons do have the ability to change color, some are not able to change the color of their skin. The color change allows the chameleons to better protect themselves and to attract mates. The range of individual chameleons ability to camouflage and how much this influences whether or not they survive and/or reproduce will need to be investigated for students to ultimately be able to describe the phenomena.

Crosscutting Concept

This resource was not designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept

The students may observe the chameleon changing color in the video and hypothesize about the factors cause the chameleon to change color. Because you are dealing with living animals, the students should not test the real animals.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: - none -
  • Instructional Supports: The video speed is ten times the normal change rate. The video can be slowed to half speed using the YouTube controls. This speed allows the students to see the change in colors more closely, and the video is still only three minutes long. Rather loud music accompanies this video clip, so the educator might wish to mute the video so that students can concentrate on what is happening in the video.
  • Monitoring Student Progress: - none -
  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: - none -