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SCI-LIT LINKS QUICKPLAN
THE MIXED-UP CHAMELEON
(QuickPlan developed by Dr. Ken Mechling, Clarion, Pennsylvania)

OVERVIEW: Children predict what the book The Mixed-Up Chameleon is about, the teacher reads and discusses the book, and the children make simulated chameleon tongues to catch make-believe flies.

BOOKLINK: The Mixed-Up Chameleon by Eric Carle, Harper Collins Publishers, 1975. ISBN 0 690-04396-1

SCIENCE ACTIVITY LINK: Using party blowers and Velcro, children construct model chameleons' tongues and chenille flies to simulate, predict, count, and graph the number of flies caught by the chameleon.

OBJECTIVE: Children will use models to describe and infer animal characteristics and adaptations, predict and record the results of a simulated predator-prey interactions, and describe a food chain.

SCIENCE PROCESSES AND CONTENT: Processes—observing, predicting, communicating, inferring, building models, and collecting, recording, and displaying data. Content—characteristics of organisms, animal adaptations, predator-prey relationships, and food chains.

NATIONAL SCIENCE EDUCATION STANDARDS: Unifying Concepts and Processes, (1) Science as Inquiry, (3) Life Science, (5) Science and Technology

MATERIALS: Book The Mixed-Up Chameleon, party blowers, Velcro, chenille strips or pipe cleaners, string, scissors, sticky notes

PROCEDURE:
1. Show the children the book, The Mixed-Up Chameleon. Ask them to predict what the book is about. Discuss their ideas.

2. Read the book to the children, pointing out the chameleon's change in colors and especially how the chameleon catches a fly with its long, sticky tongue. Focus, too, on the variety of animals that live in the zoo, the chameleon's wishes to become like them, and, finally, the chameleon's desire to be himself.

3. In the story, identify the chameleon as a predator and the fly as its prey. Explain that the prey contains energy and when the predator eats the prey, the predator gets the energy. The chameleon and the fly are examples of a food chain where the energy is passed from the fly to the chameleon.

4. Discuss the chameleon's tongue and how it is adapted for catching insects (it is sticky, long, and it rolls out very fast). Have the children construct a make-believe chameleon's tongue and a fly. First construct the fly. You will need for each child 2 Velcro squares (the fuzzy part) each about 15 mm square, ½ pipe cleaner or chenille strip, and one piece on string 30-40 cm long. Fold the chenille strip into the shape of a figure 8. Remove the backing from the Velcro to expose the sticky part, then attach the chenille to it so the Velcro square is in the middle of the 8. Attach one end of the string to the sticky part of the square. Now press the other Velcro square over the first square, with the chenille strip and the string between them, like a sandwich. Have the children hold up the fly by the opposite end of the string. Have them set the fly aside for a few moments.

5. Now have the children construct the chameleon's tongue. Have them cut a Velcro rectangle (the bristly part) about 30 mm long, take the backing off the Velcro, and attach this piece to the rolled out end of the party blower. Fold the Velcro around both sides of the blower tip. Allow the party blower to reroll. Have the children dangle the flies in front of them, aiming and blowing the party blower tip at the fly. Have them practice hitting the fly. This motion mimics a real chameleon's tongue. When they catch a fly, they can carefully remove the pieces of Velcro from each other and try it again.

6. You may wish to have the children predict how many flies they can catch in 10 trials. Using sticky notes, put a number line on a wall, 0 to 10. Have each child write his or her name on another sticky note and go to the wall, sticking their name above the number of flies they predict they will catch out of 10 trials. This display of predictions will be a histogram or simple bar graph. While they are making their 10 trials, you can put another number line, 0 to 10, on the wall for their findings. Have them write their names on another sticky note, placing it above the number of flies they caught. Have them compare their predictions to their findings. With older children you may wish to use the wall graphs to teach about range, mean, median, and mode.

7. An interesting ending for this lesson is to read to the children either one of the humorous books, Old Black Fly or A Fly Went By. Before reading, ask the children to predict what the book is about.

RELATED BOOKS:
Old Black Fly by Jim Alyesworth, Henry Holt and Company, 1992. ISBN 0-8050-3924-2
A Fly Went By by Mike McClintock, Beginner Books, 1958. ISBN 0-394-80003-6
Amazing Lizards by Trevor Smith, Alfred A. Knopf, 1990. ISBN 0-679-80819-1

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