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In "Love Will Guide Us," a Tapestry of Faith program
This activity demonstrates natural selection by engaging participants in a scenario that requires reasoning. The entire concept of natural selection may be difficult for young children to grasp; the main objective is to demonstrate that those individuals that blend with their environments are less likely to be caught by predators. More of the "blenders" tend to survive and therefore have an opportunity to reproduce.
Tell participants they are going on a hunt—a hunt for woolly worms. Say, in your own words:
All around the country, especially in the Northeast, we see caterpillars that are called woolly worms or woolly bears. They will become a moth, if they are not eaten. We're going to pretend that pieces of yarn are the caterpillars and you are birds! The caterpillars are all around this room. How many can you find?
IMPORTANT: Do not show them a sample! Let them discover the worms on their own.
Let them know that this is not a competition. You will collect all the woolly worms they each find. Give participants no more than 30 seconds to hunt for woolly worms. It's important that "predators" do not have enough time to catch all of the "prey". Show them the area they can search and set the timer.
Gather everyone together and collect the pieces of yarn. Have children sort them out by color. Together, count how many of each color were found.
Process the activity with these questions:
Participants with limited mobility can take a role in collecting, sorting, and counting the woolly worms others find.
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Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.
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