Learning Resource Type

Learning Activity

Creative Camouflage

Subject Area

Arts Education




This activity should be completed after teaching a lesson on animal adaptations and camouflage. Students will choose an animal and create an artwork by using a series of patterned dots to "camouflage" or blend their animal into the landscape. After completing their artwork, students will examine their artwork and demonstrate their scientific knowledge by answering reflection questions in their science journal. 

This activity was created as a result of the Arts COS Resource Development Summit.

    Arts Education (2017) Grade(s): 4 - Visual Arts


    Collaboratively design and create artwork that has meaning and purpose.

    Unpacked Content



    • Constructed environment
    • Cultural traditions
    • Digital format
    • Engagement
    • Tertiary color
    • Preservation
    • Proportion
    • Principles of design
      • Unity
    • Shade
    • Style
    • Tints & shades

    Essential Questions

    EU: Artists and designers shape artistic investigations, following or breaking with traditions in pursuit of creative artmaking goals.
    EQ: How does knowing the contexts, histories, and traditions of art forms help create works of art and design? Why do artists follow or break from established traditions? How do artists determine what resources and criteria are needed to formulate artistic investigations?

    Skills Examples

    • Create a list of multiple ideas, sketches, or thumbnail-sketches before beginning the final version of an artwork.
    • Identify, select, and vary art materials, tools and processes to achieve desired results in their artwork.
    • Brainstorm (alone or with others) potential art styles for a given piece of art, such as Monet's Water Lilies.
    • Create an artwork from direct observation (still-life, self-portrait, figure drawing, etc.).
    • Design a two-dimensional drawings of a futuristic art room, town, or planet
    • Use wood, found objects, wire, paper, or clay-based materials to construct a three-dimensional form.
    • Locate business logos in the community and explore the visual arts skills and materials that were used to create these works.
    • Engage in group critiques of one's work and the work of others.
    • Experiment with art materials by using them in unusual and creative ways to express ideas and convey meaning.
    • Use and care for materials, tools, and equipment in a manner that prevents danger to oneself and others.
    • Mix equal parts of a primary and a secondary color located beside each other on the color wheel to create a tertiary color.
    • Use the design principles of repetition and alignment to add visual unity to an artwork.
    • Create a painting using a monochromatic color scheme by using one color (red) adding white to create a tint (a lighter value--pink) and adding black to the color (red) to create a shade (darker value).

    Anchor Standards

    Anchor Standard 1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
    Science (2015) Grade(s): 4


    Examine evidence to support an argument that the internal and external structures of plants (e.g., thorns, leaves, stems, roots, colored petals, xylem, phloem) and animals (e.g., heart, stomach, lung, brain, skin) function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.

    Unpacked Content



    • argue
    • articulate
    • evidence
    • internal
    • external
    • structure
    • survival
    • function
    • behavior
    • reproduction


    Students know:
    • Internal and External structures serve specific functions within plants and animals.
    • The functions of internal and external structures can support survival, growth, behavior and/or reproduction in plants and animals.
    • Different structures work together as part of a system to support survival, growth, behavior, and/or reproduction.


    Students are able to:
    • Articulate an explanation from evidence explaining how the internal and external structures of plants and animals function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.
    • Determine the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence collected, including whether or not it supports a claim about the role of internal and external structures of plants and animals in supporting survival, growth, behavior, and/or reproduction.
    • Use reasoning to connect the relevant and appropriate evidence to support an argument about the function of the internal and external structures of plants and animals.


    Students understand that:
    • Plants and animals have both internal and external structures that serve various functions in growth, survival, behavior, and reproduction.

    Scientific and Engineering Practices

    Engage in Argument from Evidence

    Crosscutting Concepts

    Systems and System Models; Structure and Function


    Learning Objectives

    Learning Objectives

    Students will create a piece of artwork using pointillism. 

    Students will use a series of small dots to "camouflage" or blend an animal of their choosing into the landscape.  

    Students will compare the artistic method of using pointillism with camouflage in animal survival through a journal reflection.

    Activity Details

    Show students the following website: Georges Seurat. Explain that he was a French post-impressionist painter. He devised an artistic technique called pointillism. This is a technique in painting where small separate dots of color are applied in a pattern to create an overall effect of "blended" colors which form an image when viewed from the proper distance. 

    Make a connection between pointillism and science by explaining this "blending" of colors is similar to camouflage in animals.    

    Distribute materials (paint, cardstock, cotton swabs, pencil). Students should start out by choosing the animal they plan to draw. Students will use the pencil to sketch their animal on the cardstock. Dip a cotton swab into the desired paint color and apply to sketch. Tell students not to mix the paint colors. Remind students they are trying to camouflage their animal into its environment.  

    Allow paintings time to dry.  

    Have students complete a reflection in their science journal.

    Assessment Strategies

    Assessment Strategies

    Students will be assessed on completing the following reflection questions in their science journal. 

    What challenges did you find with pointillism? Do you think this technique worked well with trying to camouflage an animal?  Why or why not? Can you think of any animals in nature that are camouflaged with dots, like your artwork? How would this help the animal survive in nature?

    Variation Tips

    Students can also create their pointillism artwork using the PIXLR Editor located at the following website:  https://pixlr.com/editor/

    Background and Preparation

    Background / Preparation


    pencil to make a sketch with (one per student)

    acrylic or tempera paint (students can share paints)

    cardstock (one piece per student)

    styrofoam plate or paint palette to put paint on (students can share paint palette)

    Cotton Swabs to make paint dots with (one cotton swab per paint color per student)

    a smartboard or overhead projector and computer to allow class viewing of the website: http://www.georgesseurat.org/ 

    Digital Tools / Resources