We love science around here, especially when it comes time to do projects like the one we completed this past week. We’re going through Apologia’s Young Explorers series (Flying Creatures). After studying the three parts of an insect, we learned that an insect’s abdomen is used for breathing, and it has special tubes called spiracles that will protect it from drowning during particularly heavy rain. The insect will close these tubes and only open them once it is dried off completely.
So we did the Lazarus project this week. After spending quite some time in the backyard looking for the “perfect” insect, the girls finally decided on a couple of ants. I think they were a little nervous that attempting to drown an ant wouldn’t be as scary as, say, the nasty, suspiciously-large pillbugs that collect under their picnic table. Anyway, we set out our materials and the girls went for it. I didn’t like the idea of trying to drown insects on purpose, but the science book said that water-deluge was a completely natural experience for them and that no harm would be done.
To be totally honest, I think the girls enjoyed holding the insects under the water a little more than I liked. I guess they figured it was payback for the untold horrors they’ve experienced with this particularly buggy-bug summer we’ve had. One ant we dubbed The Hulk because he WOULD NOT DROWN. We were supposed to only have to wait about 3 minutes before the insects stopped moving, but this guy went on thrashing for about ten minutes. Finally, we dumped their little carcasses on the paper towel and poured salt over them. True to the book’s instructions, the salt dried them off quickly and they were both up and crawling on their merry way! We happily released them back into the wild. So wait, you’re telling me that all those spiders I’ve washed down the kitchen sink are actually alive and well today???? Actually, no, spiders are not insects, and as far as spiracles, I’m not sure they even have any.