The Living Edens
How Can I Hide In Namib?

Instructional Objectives
Background Material
Evaluation / Alternative Assessment
Web Resources

Instructional Objectives:

Students will:
  1. Identify how certain species survive in the Namib Desert through color protection
  2. Determine what techniques animals in Namib use to hide from predators and to wait for prey
  3. Compare and contrast the different methods of survival of those species in the Namib desert

Background Material:

Different animals have different adaptations of color and shape to protect themselves. These colors and shapes have evolved over time so that the species survives in the environment. The Namib desert has many unusual creatures that have adapted to the harsh environment through colors and shapes that match the Namib ecosystem. (For more about this, watch the PBS program The Living Edens "Namib", which aired on July 16, 1997.)

Target Grade Level:

Middle level students, grades 5-9

Materials Needed:

For each group of 3-4 students:
  • One small cardboard box 8 x 11 inches or larger
  • Quantity of sand to cover the bottom of the box 1-2 inches deep
  • Small pieces of different colored paper strips or different colored cloth material, 1 x 2 inches cut into different shapes
  • Scissors
  • Student science journals
  • Small sticks and rocks to place on the sand container, either on the surface or partially buried


  1. Have students fill boxes with sand. If different shades of sand are available, use them as it will enhance the activity.
  2. Cut out different shapes of colored paper approximately 1 x 2 inches. Use all colors available so that students recognize some colors are effective protectors and others are not.
  3. Have students place different colored paper strips on the sand and determine which colors would be best to conceal an animal in the sand environment.
  4. Discuss what other colors might help conceal a creature of Namib if there are brush, sticks and/or rocks present.
  5. Record in science journals which colors were best for concealment in sand, rocks or around the sticks ( Which colors were the most difficult to see).
  6. Compare and contrast the colors of animals in the Namib Desert and which environment they inhabit and record in science journals.

Evaluation/Alternative Assessment:

Have students report from groups , which colors were most effective in concealment in the rocks, sticks and sand. Also have individual students read the data entries from their science journals. Draw a comparison between this activity and the creatures that survive in the Namib desert.

Elementary Extension:

Elementary students might enjoy using plastic/rubber insects, snakes, etc. available from science stores. These critters can be placed on/in the sand, rocks and sticks to see how well they match the surroundings.

High School Extension:

Natural adaptation through colors that protect should be the topic for high school students. Students should take a field trip through a forest to see if they are able to locate insects or other creatures that blend in with the surroundings. Research can be done on local creatures with respect to protective colors.

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Broadcast Info | Purchase Video | Earth, Wind, and Fire | Recalling Namib
Trivia Challenge | 24 Hours in Namib | Teacher's Resources
Related Links | Screen Saver | Credits
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