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Hiding "Pet Rocks" in your Own Backyard

How can you test an animal's ability to hide in the environment in which it lives? One class from Prairie View Elementary in Missouri set out to find a way! They painted rocks to look like the patterns of skin or fur of certain animals. Then they put the rocks on different areas of the school grounds to see how well the patterns helped hide the rocks from view.

What animals do you think would blend in the best where you live? Test some different ones, and then fill out the form attached to this page and e-mail it to us!

Things you will need:

1. Some rocks, all about the same size
2. Watercolor (or any other kind of water-based) paints
3. Paintbrushes

First, go to your library and look up different animals and their skin or fur patterns. Pick some animals that you think would live in different habitats. Next, use your paints to paint the rocks to resemble the animals. You may want to choose some animals with stripes and spots and some with solid colors to see which are easier to spot.

After you've painted your rocks and allowed the paint to dry, take them outside and toss them onto the ground. Step back about 9 meters and see which rocks you can spot. Now try different backgrounds in your area, like the grass, dirt, or sidewalk. You may also want to try different distances away and see if there is any difference.

What did you notice? Which animals were easiest to spot? Was there a difference in the type of environment that the rocks were placed in?

After you finish your experiment tell us what happened. Click here to send us your data!

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