Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Theory Thursday: Bug Pooter & Magnifying Viewer

It's getting harder and harder to write up these posts. We've been outside so much enjoying the gorgeous weather! Needless to say, this is from last Thursday, almost a week ago! (Update: now it's been two weeks. Blogger had issues and deleted some posts. No, you're not experiencing déjà vu. I am indeed posting this again!)

We order three Little Labs science kits by Thames and Kronos from kids.woot!.  It's always exciting to get a box in the mail. When these were delivered to our door last week, my kiddies were ecstatic, even before we opened the box! Once they saw what was inside, their excitement level shot up. "Can we do one now? I want to make the boat! Can we open them? These are so cool! I love this!" We all agree, it was $13.00 well spent. (They are regularly $16.95 each. Gotta love Woot!.)

Thursday, we grabbed some supplies and headed outside for school. We climbed up into the top section of our play set and sat down with a history book, reading book, and kids dictionary. Eventually, we set those aside and grabbed our Little Labs animal kit. They tore into the box and examined every piece of treasure inside: knowledge wheel, specimen bags, plaster & form, bug viewer, wooden stick, tweezers, measuring cups, and stickers.

Once everything was good and looked at, we made the bug pooters I referenced a couple weeks ago. The kids gently stretched a cotton ball and taped it to a plastic straw. The idea is to place the pooter in the bugs' environment to allow for a more natural capturing. The bug crawls onto the cotton and you gently place it into a container. In theory, it's great. In reality, it never worked for us. Jake finally used the tweezers from the kit to grab an ant and placed it on the pooter. He noticed its listless body and said, "I killed it, didn't I? Yeah, I thought so." But it's the thought that counts, right? Something like that. Or maybe it's more like the Chinese proverb: Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand. There's no denying that he understands now . . . . both he and the ant.

We had a great time searching for bugs to enslave observe in the magnifying bug viewer from the kit. The first one we got was a snail. It took only a couple minutes before it felt comfortable enough to emerge from its shell. The kids were fascinated watching it slither all around the cup.  They also captured a couple millipedes, a roly poly (pill bug), and four worms.

The poor bugs had to endure the wrath of Zac. He wasn't quite sure what to make of them at first. Then, he ran around the yard laughing and shaking the cup. They had no idea when they woke up that morning that they would be going on the ride of their lives. Quite literally too. I think we killed all but the worms.

Snails produce a bubbly foam when they are under stress. Our snail (that we had intentions of keeping in a small aquarium to observe long term) was sending strong distress signals before little Zachy ever touched the cup. If you notice in the picture above, there is already gunk all over it.

And this is what it looked like by the time we were done . . .

That is all that was left of the snail. The shell was cracked and smooshed. Just a thought, but the four fat worms (and two millipedes and a roly poly) may have been too much for the snail to handle in that little cup. Who knew snails were claustrophobic?

Jake and Alyssa have played with the tweezers and magnifying cup many times this past week. There's just something about bugs and dirt that draws children.

And mommies too.
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