Inspired by the ‘squid tickler’ attachment to the Doc Rickets ROV:
(to the tune of three blind mice)
Three aquatic robots, Three aquatic robots,
See how they swim, See how they swim,
They all chased after a jellyfish, They wanted to see if it would squish,
It made a sound like a “Ker-splish”
Three aquatic robots, Three aquatic robots.
Thanks to Philip (from Denmark) and his family for sending in a picture of their lunar lander! It’s great to see other families exploring science topics that interest them. Maybe, there are some future astrobiologists out there!
It’s time to share your results! Send us examples of experiments that you’ve conducted. Next week, I’ll post an assortment of the results. Please include a 1-2 sentence description of your experiment, an image of your results, the age of the researcher and your location (City, State). Email them to WalkaboutEm@gmail.com.
I look forward to seeing what everyone came up with!
Zev loves the bubbler in the fish tank. We have talked many times about how it’s dissolving oxygen into the water for the fish to breathe. We elaborated on that by reading a textbook diagram of fish breathing through gills and talking about how that compares to humans breathing. We watched a short video on YouTube about how gills work. Then we observed our minnows swim, specifically watching for them pushing water through their gills. For an art activity, I drew diagrams of fish, pointing out the operculum that covers the gills and named the types of fins. After the kids colored their fish, I cut little slats in front of the mouth and at the operculum line. We pushed little blue pieces of paper in through the fish mouths and out through their gills, pretending that our fish were breathing.
The kids pretended to be fish swimming around and we sang a song (to the tune of Puff the Magic Dragon):
Puff the Magic Minnow lived in a tank.
He ate some plants and swam around,
and played with things that sank.
Materials – Paper (I used manilla envelopes, so they’d be a little sturdier and not rip), markers, strips of blue paper, diagram of fish gills or fish anatomy.
We made lab safety costumes with lab coats (old dress shirts) and goggles. We talked about lab safety and lab safety clothing.
We read the poem:
Little Willie was a Chemist,
Little Willie is no more.
What he thought was H2O was H2SO4.
We build a handful of small molecules, including H2O (water) and H2SO4 (sulferic acid). We talked about the lab equipment in An Introduction to Model Organisms, including lab notebooks, pipettes, PCR machines, centrifuges, squirt bottles, labeling tape, Kimwipes, microscopes and autoclaves.
The next day, while we drew with chalk (which is mostly calcium carbonate) outside Zev asked what it was made of so we talked about how calcium carbonate is ionic.
We explored three different kinds of worms: Earthworms, Tubifex worms and Nematodes. The kids liked observing the earthworms, “wiggly worms”. They liked that the worms are basically food tubes that eat and then poop, which led to a discussion of decomposition and nutrient recycling. They observed that the you can see poop inside of the gastrointestinal tract of the partially transparent earthworms. The kids took toy annelids (snakes) all over the yard eating and pooping out worm castings. Zev observed that the toy snakes would be a better representation of segmented worms if they could stretch and compress themselves. Zev composed a song, “Worms have no eyes.” We crumbled up old leaves and a flower to feed to the pet earthworms. Each child was given a beaker with a ball of tubifex worms to observe. Cassandra got very attached to hers, and carried it around for a long time. We compared anatomy between annelids and nematodes.
Materials – Earthworms (bought from a garden store, stored in a tub of dirt in the backyard and fed old plant matter, we fed ours dried leaves from the yard, pea pods, and old flowers), Tubifex worms in water (from a pet store, stored in water in the fridge when not in use), old bowls and recycling containers, segmented toy snakes (from the art store).
We folded measuring distances into this game. It was fun to walk around the yard measuring things. We also drew worms in various media and practiced measuring them.
Materials – rulers (our favorites were made from popsicle sticks), chalk, lab notebook, markers.
We actually did two beetle activities. First, we learned about the lifecycle of Darkling beetles, of which the larvae are called mealworms. Second, we released ladybugs in the yard and talked about predator-prey interactions.
We adopted mealworms a few weeks back, after a visit to the library where they had a live bat demonstration and Zev loved watching the bats munching mealworms. We were lucky to get one that had already pupated and when Cassandria came over one morning we noticed that it had just hatched into an adult beetle. Cassandria decided that it was the “Mommy beetle” and the others were babies. We spent a long time talking about beetle life cycles and the kids drew pictures of our pet darkling beetles as both larvae and adults. We fed them carrots and melon rind. We noticed how the larvae liked to make tunnels through the carrots and hind under the, now squishy, melon rid.
About a week later, we adopted the ladybugs. We released the lady bugs in the yard and observed their behavior as they crawled and flew away. I drew an anatomy diagram in chalk on the sidewalk next to us, and we talked about how beetles have hard elytra on top of their flying underwings. Then we all started drawing beetles. Once we had a whole long row of them in rainbow colors, the kids played ,“Hop Along the Beetles.”
Materials – Ladybugs (from a garden store), Mealworms (from a pet store), dirt, old plant matter (we used carrot and melon rind), ladybug stickers (art store), markers, chalk, library books about beetles.
We took a field trip to a garden store where we saw lily pads, bamboo, water hyacinth, and papyrus plants. We talked about the different strategies that the plants use to live in water such as: floats, roots that anchor, broad leaves with lots of surface tension, etc. We brought some water hyacinth home to add to our tank of minnows.
Materials – either none (if you want to just make it a field trip), or a few aquatic plants of whatever is available and a container of water.