MYTHBUSTERS Red Rag to a Bull

Red Rag to a Bull
Teacher’s Guide
Grade Level: 6–12
Curriculum Focus: Science
Running Time: 47 minutes
Program Description
The MythBusters head to the rodeo for myths all about bulls. First, does the color red make
bulls angry? Kari, Tory, and Grant test out three variables—color, movement, and the presence
of humans—to find out what really makes a bull "see red." Next, they investigate if a bull can
be trusted in a china shop. Finally, Adam and Jamie explore the anatomy of a bullet to test
myths on heat, pressure, and gunpowder.
Learning Objectives
After viewing the program and participating in discussion, students will be able to:
· Describe how heat and pressure affect bullets;
· Understand the importance of research before experimenting;
· Know that media and popular culture are often the cause of myths;
· Realize that bulls charge a moving object without preference to color;
· Describe how science experiments drive scientific progress.
Classroom Connections
Before Jamie and Adam can conduct the Bullet in the Oven myth, they must figure out if an
oven is bulletproof. Describe their findings.
List the four parts of a bullet and how each part works.
A popular misconception about bulls is that they are color-blind. However, bulls are
dichromatic. What does this mean? Are humans dichromatic?
Why do bullets explode quickly in a campfire and not an oven?
Published by Discovery Education. © 2008. All rights reserved.
Jamie and Adam not only test how bullets react in a hot oven, but also how a loaded gun
reacts to high temperatures. Which proved to be more lethal? Why?
Classroom Activities
When Kari, Tory, and Grant bust the bull and the red flag myth, they ask if the bull is colorblind since it prefers to charge moving objects without a color preference. They are told by a
bull expert that bulls are not color-blind, but dichromatic. Students should research this term
as well as trichromatic. After students look into these terms, have them research colorblindness in humans. Are more men or women color-blind? Why might this be? What are the
different types of color-blindness? Are there any cures? Students should also test their own
color vision with Ishihara Color Tests. Students may want to review the retina and other parts
of the eye for this project.
Target Vocabulary*
adage - a saying often in metaphorical form that embodies a common observation
caliber - the diameter of a bullet or other projectile
carnage - great and usually bloody slaughter or injury (as in battle)
dichromatic - having or exhibiting two colors
trichromatic - of, relating to, or consisting of three colors
*By permission. From the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary ©2008 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated (
Academic Standards
National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Sciences provides guidelines for teaching science in grades K–12 to
promote scientific literacy. To view the standards, visit this Web site:
This lesson plan addresses the following national standards:
· Physical science
· Life science
· People, places, and environments
Page 2
Published by Discovery Education. © 2008. All rights reserved.
Science as inquiry
Science in personal and social perspectives
History and nature of science
Page 3
Published by Discovery Education. © 2008. All rights reserved.