Paradise of the Pacific: Catch
A Moorish Idol
of the Lesson
Materials Needed For The Activity
National Science Standards
Other Sites on Palau
Other Sites on Coral
of the Lesson:
At the completion
of the lesson, the students will:
- Observe the behavior
of Moorish Idols in The Living Edens: Palau program
- Role play the behavior
of Moorish Idols in a classroom game
- Evaluate how the behavior
and appearance of Moorish Idols contributes to their success as
In The Living Edens: Palau,
Moorish Idols are seen swimming in large schools, all in the same
direction at the same time. Additionally, they all look the same.
These characteristics help the Moorish Idol evade predators. Predators
are confused by the large numbers, movement and color of the Moorish
Idols. Predators have a difficult time picking one Moorish Idol out
of the entire school.
Needed For The Activity:
- One old white sheet
for all but two of the classroom participants.
- A string to act as
a belt for each student
- Scissors for each student
- Science Journals and
- Three six inch circles
of red construction paper
- A school playing field
- Black and yellow school
paint, markers, or crayons (optional)
- Gray construction paper
- Stop watch for the
- Ask each student pretending
to be a Moorish Idol to cut out a nose, mouth and two eye holes
in an old white sheet and place the sheet over his head. Each student
should appear alike, just as the Moorish Idols all appear alike.
Black and yellow stripes on the white sheets to mimic the Moorish
Idol appearance adds to the game.
- Ask two students to
pretend they are sharks hunting for the Moorish Idols. The number
of sharks can be increased if the Moorish Idols always win the game.
- Ask three of the students
pretending to be Moorish Idols to carry the red circles to indicate
they are the selected prey. The sharks then chase and tag them on
the playground within three minutes.
- Ask all of the Moorish
Idols (white sheet students) to gather in a group and run from the
sharks just as seen in the Palau program. The Moorish Idols make
break up into smaller groups as they wish. The teacher can call
out turn left, turn right to keep the groups synchronized as seen
in the Palau program, or the students may select a 'lead fish' to
follow. The teacher must also be the time keeper.
- The sharks will try
to tag the Moorish Idols carrying the red circle.
- Allow the sharks to
have three minutes to tag the Moorish Idols carrying the red circle.
If they are successful, the sharks win. If unsuccessful, the Moorish
- Change the roles students
play in this game.
Have students play the
game in the playground. Following the game, have a class discussion
regarding the process that took place. Have the sharks give their
opinion, then ask for comments from the regular Moorish Idols and
those Moorish Idols with the red circles. Ask students why the oldest,
youngest, or infirm members of a population are often most susceptible
Compare and contrast the
game to what students viewed in The Living Edens: Palau. Bring attention
to the fact that Moorish Idols are able to evade capture due to number,
teamwork and the fact that they all appear the same to the predator.
The lesson addresses the following
National Science Standards:
of regulation and behavior
of diversity and adaptation of organisms
of structure and function in living systems
-think critically and
logically to make the relationships between evidence and explanation
Sites on Palau:
of Palau, supplied by the University of Texas
Palau, CIA Factbook
here for information on Palau's natural resources, government, topography,
climate, demographics, and economy.
Palau tourism site supplies information about diving, culture, history,
and travel arrangements.
Beast of Eden
This Discovery Channel
site focuses on the occupation of the Palauan island Peleliu during
World War II. Interviews with soldiers, video clips, a slide show,
and military history are featured.
Sites on Coral Reefs:
Reefs in Trouble
Jones magazine sponsors this site on the world's endangered reefs.
Learn why reefs are so important and what types of human activity
You'll find an excellent
archive of video and still images of corals and fish at this site.