Colour, Pattern and Camouflage

In Colour, Pattern and Camouflage, pupils will take part in activities and investigate real animal specimens to practice their descriptive skills and find out more about how colours and patterns can help animals survive in the Gir Forest of India. Using specific examples, the pupils will discuss how camouflage can help animals to catch their prey or avoid being eaten, and how some animals have bright colours to stand out as a warning, or to find their friends. Finally the class will see a real live animal and think about how its colours and patterns help it to survive.

Asiatic Lion


Age group:  Key Stage One (Years 1 and 2, Ages 5-7)

Duration: 45 minutes

Capacity: 35 pupils

Learning Space: Land of the Lions- Learning Space  (map ref TBC)


Key stage one (National Curriculum/Syllabus) links:

Lower key stage 1 (Years 1 and 2) programme of study (2014)

Working scientifically

  • observing closely, using simple equipment
  • identifying and classifying
  • using their observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions

Year 1 programme of study (2014)

Animals, including humans

Pupils should be taught to:

  • identify and name a variety of common animals including fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals
  • describe and compare the structure of a variety of common animals (fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals including pets)

Year 2 programme of study (2014)

Living things and their habitats

Pupils should be taught to:

  • identify that most living things live in habitats to which they are suited
  • identify and name a variety of plants and animals in their habitats, including microhabitats
  • describe how animals obtain their food from plants and other animals, using the idea of a simple food chain

KS1 English

  • Use spoken language to develop understanding through speculating, hypothesising, imagining and exploring ideas


Intended learning outcomes:


Pupils will be able to:

  • to name animals of different colours and/or patterns from the Gir Forest habitat (some of which they will be able to see in the Land of the Lions exhibit)
  • explain why some animals use camouflage and some animals stand out with bright colours
  • demonstrate their understanding of camouflage by selecting the correct habitat for a range of animals with varied colours and/or patterns


For this session:


Before your visit:

  • Sort toy animals into different groups based on their colours and patterns. Draw a forest scene and choose a toy animal that can camouflage well to hide in it.
  • On paper, draw an imaginary animal. Cut out the animal and swap with a partner, then draw a habitat for your partner’s animal to live in. Think about whether the animal will be camouflaged or if it will stand out in its habitat.
    • Extension: Describe the imaginary animal - What does it eat? Does it have predators? Is it poisonous?

While at the Zoo:

  • Visit our Into Africa section and look for the zebra and giraffe.  Observe the patterns these animals have and discuss why and how the patterns might help them to survive in the African savannah.
  • Go to the Reptile House and find a camouflaged snake and a brightly coloured frog.  Why and how are their colours different?
  • Take photos of any animals at the Zoo with interesting colours patterns and textures for the post-visit activity below


Animal Location (map ref.)
Asiatic Lion  Land of the Lions
Flamingo Three Island Pond
Crocodile Reptile House
Frogs Reptile House
Snakes Reptile House




  • Give each child a copy of a photo of a Zoo animal and ask them to make a collage of the animal in its natural habitat, using patterns, colours and textures. Can they explain how the colours and patterns help it to survive?