• Sam McKay

Discovering Prehistoric Pets and Animal Behaviour - Self Isolation Experiment!

Updated: Mar 24

Hi Everyone, I hope you're safe and this week is good to you!

Here's an experiment you can do at home with your kids (or by yourself!). If you want to learn more about the critters in questions you can watch my lesson below and if you want to keep up to date with all of my experiment ideas you can subscribe to my YouTube Channel or follow me on Twitter @SJ_McKay!

What you need:

A Jar

A Baking Tray or Plate

Two Rulers

Some Woodlice

Damp Leaves

A Light

A clock or stop watch

The Instructions:

1. Build your woodlouse house!

Grab a Jar/cup and some damp leaves. If it's dry outside find some leaves and leave them in a cup of water for a little while. Woodlice need to live in a moist environment because otherwise they will dry out!

2. Collect your "willing participants"...

Head out to the park or your garden, look for logs and carefully flip them over. If it's light outside you'll find loads of woodlice underneath going about their business! Gently scoop them up into your woodlouse house, don't be afraid to pick them up with your hands, they don't bite and they're pretty hardy so as long as you don't try to you won't hurt them! You'll probably need about 15-20. What other creepy crawlies did you find on your adventures in the wilderness?

3. Set up your experiment

Get your woodlouse colosseum (Baking tray) and set up four squares using your rulers or some string - two with some damp cover and two which are empty. Make sure the string/rulers are suspended above the tray so they won't get in the way of our creepy crawlies. Once you're done set up a lamp above the arena.

4. Let the games begin!

Turn your lamp off (and your lights if you can!) and airdrop the woodlice into the middle of the arena. You'll want to use at least 10. The bigger the number you use the better but make sure they aren't overcrowded!

Once they're in leave the lights off for 5 minutes so your friends can acclimatise to their new environment.

After 5 minutes are up turn the lamp on. Record where the woodlice are after every minute for 10 minutes. Where were they after the first minute? Where were they after 10 minutes? Did it change?

What did we find out?

Woodlice are scared of light because it makes them think its the daytime and during the day the sun will make them dry out. That's why they live under logs. After 10 minutes did your woodlice all hide under the damp cover you'd given them? They're not very good at seeing their surroundings and will normally keep moving until they get somewhere dark. Occasionally that will take longer than 10 minutes!

You can repeat the experiment as many times are you want. Are the results different each time? Why might that be?

If you want to keep up to date with my self isolation experiment ideas subscribe to my YouTube Channel, follow me on Twitter @SJ_McKay, like my Facebook page or bookmark my blog!

Have a lovely week everyone, I'll see you in class at 1PM on Wednesday!



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