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Bug Science Experiments for Kids

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

If you are trying to teach kids about bugs, it can be a good idea to get them involved in hands-on experiments. This lesson offers some science experiments you can use to get kids learning more about bugs!

Teaching Kids About Bugs

Are you trying to teach kids more about bugs, including their anatomy, their behavior, and what they need in order to survive? Of course, it's fine for students to read and listen to lectures about bugs but sometimes, they will learn the most from hands-on experiments.

Science experiments allow students to use all five senses as they ask questions and explore new information. Moreover, when students do experiments, they work with the scientific method, gaining practice posing good questions, constructing hypotheses, coming up with a procedure or plan, collecting and presenting results, and drawing sensible conclusions.

The science experiments in this lesson will help children learn more about bugs while thinking and working like scientists.

Bug Observation

Sometimes, the simplest kind of experiment can also be the most rewarding and informative. Begin by helping your kids generate a list of questions about what bugs do and how they act in different environments. For instance, students might wonder how exactly bugs move from one place to another, what it looks like for a bug to eat, or how bugs respond to different stimuli. All of their questions are valid!

Then, take students to a place where they can observe lots of bugs. Alternatively, use a bug box or tank for students to observe bugs in a controlled environment. Using pencils, colored pencils, and paper, ask students to create detailed sketches of the bugs in the environment they are observing. Remind students that their drawings should reflect how the bugs actually look to them, not how they expect them to look.

Finally, ask students to use their observations to develop at least provisional answers to some of the questions they posed.

Bug Dissection

This is a great experiment for students who are interested in bug anatomy, as well as the relationship between form and function. Students should work in small groups for this experiment, and you will need dead bugs as well as tweezers, pencils, and papers. Larger bugs can be somewhat easier for students to work with.

Have students pose their own questions about bug anatomy and structure. They should also generate hypotheses based on what they already know about bugs.

Then, have students work with tweezers to examine the body of the bug they are looking at. They can gently pull different body parts apart to see how they fit together or what is below or inside them. As students work, have them keep notes and drawings documenting what they find.

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