For background information on how animal coloration works and evolves in nature, see Introduction.
1. Protective coloration game (20-30 minutes). Students will participate for an ‘experiment’ as predators which will (in most of the cases) demonstrate the avoidance learning of warningly coloured prey items. By analysing results together you can also demonstrate how scientific information is produced (data collection and data analysis).
2. Simulations for the evolution of protective colouration. With this simple simulation provided us by Santtu Tikka from the Department of Statistics (University of Jyväskylä), students can use the mortality numbers from their game to try out how frequencies of warningly coloured and camouflaged prey items would change across generations. It is also possible to add complexity for the system by making e.g. aposematic strategy more costly to produce and maintain and then see how it affects the frequency of aposematic and camouflaged prey genotypes.
3. Animal Researcher workshop (suitable e.g. 10 years old children onwards, 3 x 2 hours). After participating for the introductory part and protective coloration game, students can plan and design their own study where they test how coloration affects predation risk in nature. In this way, students will also learn about the different stages of production of scientific information as well as experimental research.