Friday, July 15, 2011

Bug Observatory

Both "A" and I are not super fond of insects. "A" simply runs screaming like a girl at the sight of the tiniest bug or spider. I am trying to teach him if you look at something like a scientist it can actually be fascinating and not so scary. Backyard Science week of the summer challenge gave us the perfect time to try out our bug investigation.

I picked up a book at our local library called Backyard Science by Christopher Maynard. Inside they had an idea using recycled materials to make a bug observatory. We took a recycled yogurt container and put some scraps of food in it. Our first bait was some cookie crumbs and two tiny pieces of cheese. Later we added a small french fry and apple flesh. Then we looked in our yard to find an area "A" thought bugs may live. We  dug a hole and put the yogurt cup in the ground so the top is level with the ground. Then place small river rocks near the cup and prop wood over it. That way bugs can get in and out but the habitat remains dry. Then let observations begin!

A cross-section of the observatory (taken from the Backyard Science book)

I then made an observation sheet and decorated it with our bug stencils. "A" let me help decorate which was fun. What can say I love coloring!!! We go and check out our observatory every 2-3 hours. So far we have swarms of ants, two slugs, and Daddy Long-Leg spiders. Some interesting observations: the ants broke down the cookie crumb into this mushy wet mass (not sure how), the slugs were only there in the early morning (my guess has to do with temperatures being lower then), and lastly- only the apple and cookies seem to interest the ants. I had "A" make a hypothesis from this observation: "Ants like sugar!" Yay for science observations! I think we will keep the observatory going til tomorrow morning and then quit feeding the local insects.
Our covered observatory (I just used materials I had lying around)
Our observatory with slugs and ants eating our bait
Our observation sheet!


  1. I love how you're giving your kiddo's fear of bugs a 'scientific' spin! Super-smart mama!

  2. Great post, thanks for sharing at Outdoor Play! Hope to see you again this Friday!