The Blue Morpho Butterfly is a frequently referenced example of structural color. This lesson plan explores the structure and possible biomimetic applications.

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This lesson plan helps students understand the concept of scale and magnification when examining a Blue Morpho butterfly wing. The activity requires the use of a scanning electron microscope (SEM), via remote access, but images are provided if there is no access to an SEM. There also is a video that takes the viewer from macro to nano views with narration explaining how 200 nanometer structures produce the beautiful blue iridescent color of the Blue Morpho. The lesson is for one class period and comes with a teacher’s guide and a student’s guide.

The Powers of Ten lesson plan meets NGSS MS-PS-2: Develop and use a model to describe that waves are reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through various materials and HS-PS4-4: Evaluate the validity and reliability of claims in published materials of the effects that different frequencies of electromagnetic radiation have when absorbed by matter.

Another related activity requires purchase or access to Blue Morpho and Buttercup butterflies mounted in acrylic cases. By holding the butterflies up to an LED light, students can observe how the wing colors change when changing their angle. The guide is available in English and Spanish.


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