Saturday, October 4, 2014

Apologia: Zoology 1 - Lesson 9

I decided to skip right to Lessons 9-14 in our Apologia Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day curriculum, which covers insects, because it is still warm outside (we live in the South) and insects will be plentiful.  (We will return to Lessons 2-8 later.)  So, here is what we did with Lesson 9, "A First Look at Insects" ...
Once we read the material in the text and I had her narrate to me what she learned, we read The Cat in the Hat's Learning Library's On Beyond Bugs! All About Insects by Tish Rabe (LOVE these books) ...
... and The Usborne Big Book of Big Bugs.
I love these "Big Books" by Usborne!  They open up quite big and Maggie has so much fun with them!
Here is one page that is longer than my dining room table is wide!  They are full of good information!
One of the things that we learned on Day 1 of Lesson 9 was about the three different body segments that insects have -- the head, thorax, and abdomen.
In order to make this information more hands on, we put together our own bug, with the three parts clearly defined, like the one we found at  We cut a head, thorax, and abdomen out of cardstock, labeled them, and glued them together.  Then, we cut out and added wings, legs, and antennae.
 Then, it was time to identify those same parts on a real bug.  We had found this dead moth outside of our apartment when we moved in, and I have been keeping him in a jar in our classroom for study.  He is beautiful.
 Maggie got right to work counting his legs and identifying his three body segments.
 Once our moth's body was thoroughly studied, it was time to do an experiment on understanding how insects are cold-blooded.  Here is Mags, ready to find and catch one for our experiment.
The search was on!
 Victory!  We found one and quickly brought him inside.
We observed how energetic he was first, having just been captured.
 Then, we stuck him in the fridge to quickly change the temperature of his surroundings!  We left him in there for a couple of hours.
While his environment cooled, we looked up what we had ... a brown marmorated stink bug!  A pest!  We found more information on it at
While our stink bug cooled, Maggie colored these two pages in her science notebook.
Once a couple of hours had passed, we removed our insect from the refrigerator and brought him outside on the deck to warm up.  (You can see the fog on the walls of our insect box from the cold hitting the outside heat.)

It took about five minutes for him to warm up, but after that, he started moving his legs again and walked off our lid and away!  What a neat experiment!  Thank you, little stink bug, for your services!
On Day 2 of Lesson 9, we started by reading these two Zoobooks magazines that I have from this year, Zoobooks: Insects (February 2014) ...
... and Zoobooks: Insect World (August 2014).  I just love these magazines.  They are so informative and the pictures are great!
After that, we completed our fact sheets in our notebooking journal (pages 121-122) about the things we had learned so far about insects.
Then, we continued reading in our textbook about exoskeletons, molting, insect heads, eyes, antennae, and mouths.  Once our reading was complete and she narrated what she had learned, we took out our "insect eye."  (This is a small, plastic eyepiece that I bought at Hobby Lobby years ago that has a compound eye attachment, an ocelli eye attachment, and an elongated eye attachment.  This thing is quite cool!)  Here, Maggie is eyeing a plastic bug through the compound eye, to see how a fly would see it.
 "I see you, Mommy!"
 Once we finished playing around with the compound eye, we set out to make this compact eye craft I had been seeing floating around Pinterest.  It turns out, it originated at, but instead of using their template, I just made my own on cardstock by cutting out a large gray head and two large black eye pieces.  On the head, I drew some of the fly's features.  Then, I got out a glue stick, bubble wrap, some green paint, and a paintbrush.
 Maggie quickly got to work painting the bubble wrap green.
Once it was well covered, we laid it over our black eye pieces and pressed.
 Once we lifted it, we had a compound eye!
 Once our eyes were dry, we glued them onto our fly's head and added this cute craft to our journal!
On Day 3 of Lesson 9, we got Daddy involved again.  After we read from our text about the thorax
(including legs and wings), the abdomen, ovipositors, claspers, and cerci of insects, I had her narrate what she learned. 

Unlike us, insects don't have lungs.  Instead, they have pores called spiracles all along their abdomens that let air into their bodies.  This was important to understand before our next project, the "Lazarus Experiment" from our text.  Our first task was to find another live insect, but before that, I handed her this Fandex: Bugs field guide to use in case she found any of the insects included on her hunt.
These are neat little books.
Here she is with her Daddy, searching for suitable insects!
They quickly found two grasshoppers for our experiment!
Once we were back home, we placed our grasshoppers in a shallow container filled with water, then turned the lid upside down in the container to keep our insects completely submerged.  (We really felt bad doing this, but our text assured us they would be ok.)
We waited for a few minutes until we observed them no longer moving.
Once they stopped moving, we immediately pulled them out of the water and covered them in salt.  (This would help absorb the water from their abdomens more quickly.)
After covering them, we blew the excess salt away and waited.  We were worried that they were both goners!
But then, our smallest grasshopper started to move!
And in just a few more minutes, he turned himself over!
Before long, both grasshoppers were upright and moving.
Our smallest one even left us a present (a poop!) on our paper towel.  I guess he showed us what he thought of our little experiment!
Within ten minutes, they both walked off the paper towel and jumped away.  Amazing!  Why didn't they drown?  The text tells us, "Insects are able to close the spiracles in their abdomen when faced with heavy rains or other unfortunate meetings with water.  When they come out of the water and dry off enough, they can reopen their spiracles and breathe again!"  How cool.
We have been noticing insects a lot since starting this lesson.  This little guy loves our deck and hides out in my old lantern daily.  He leaves the lantern by mid-afternoon to head over to one of our back windows for nighttime, when the bug buffet comes to him as they approach the lights.  We have been enjoying his company immensely.
For the final day of this lesson, we did some work in our notebook.
Starting Tuesday, we will move on to Lesson 10 and learn about insect life cycles.  Check back with us!

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