Engage Students with Creepy Crawly Hands-on Science

Launching your lessons with a hands-on activity is a great way to get kids re-engaged in your classroom after Spring Break!

Our most popular items for your students are bugs and critters. Kids of all ages love exploring the world of creepy crawly bugs. Explore metamorphosis! Or teach about the critters role in the ecosystem. Gather a variety of critters and host a bug show.

If you prefer to not have live critters, consider life cycle models for a hands-on, but not creepy crawly, way to explore the life cycle of insects.

Caterpillars and butterflies.

We also provide classroom and individual student kits
Creepy Crawly

Ants

Harvester ants are HUGE and easy to observe. Keep them contained in an Ant Farm. For more cool info on ants and their environments check out our page here.

Creepy Crawly

Ladybugs

Don’t forget a habitat!

Mealworms

We also provide a growing kit with food, burlap, mealworms, pupae, and beetles; as well as an experiment kit to explore the mealworm’s sensitivity to light.
Creepy Crawly

Praying Mantis egg

Praying Mantis are also referred to as Stick Bugs!

Pill Bugs

These harmless roly poly bugs are a great choice for those of us who might be a tad bit squeamish about other bugs.

Snails: land and pond

Did you know some snails hibernate during the winter?


Earthworms

Depending on the species an adult earthworm can grow to almost 10 feet long!

Crayfish

Also known as Crawfish, Crawdads and Mudbugs, yumm!

Water Fleas

Crickets

Believe it or not they can make a tasty treat!

Desert Millipede

Redworms

Hydra

Milkweed bugs and eggs

Planaria

Silkworms

Silkworms are the primary producer of silk.

Tenebrio Beetles

Vinegar Eels

Drosophila Fruit Flies

Brine Shrimp

Shh, here’s a secret: Sea-Monkeys are actually brine shrimp.

 

Would you like to find out where to find / buy any of these cool creepy crawly critters? Send us a message under our Contact Us page.

Teaching all about ants

ants

These resources, sorted by students’ ages, may help you in teaching about ants in your classroom or homeschool.

Pre-K

Ant unit: pre-writing, graphing, counting, craft, the letter A, patterns, and the ant life cycle.

Explore ants in the salt tray, Hey Little Ant story, ant snack, and the ant life cycle

Ant egg carton craft

Ant life cycle model

Elementary

Ant lapbook

Ants: pests or pals poll

Ant anatomy coloring page

Ant life cycle model

Ant zoom gallery: see an ant up close

Ant farm

Middle school +

Behavior of Ants 4-week lesson series

AntWeb: database of ant images and specimen records

Ant anatomy

Build a simple ant farm

Hands-on

Of course, one of the best ways to teach about ants is to allow students to experience ants hands-on in an ant farm or ant hill.

Fascinating videos

Sticky feet: how ants walk

Fire ants making a living raft in water

Ants herding other bugs

Excavating a colony

Underwater ant nest

Death spiral

More Resources

Do you have any great resources for teaching about ants in your classroom or homeschool? Share them in the comments!

Learn more about ants

This post is part of a series on ants. Join us here and on Pinterest and Twitter to learn more about these fascinating creatures!

Teaching Parallel Circuits to Your Students

Parallel Circuits

To start, we need to define current and voltage:

  • Current is the rate (or speed) at which the electrons are flowing through the circuit and is measured in amperes (Amps).
  • Voltage is technically the electrical potential difference between the beginning and end of a circuit….or simply, the force at which the current travels through the circuit. Voltage is measured in Volts (joules/coulomb).

We are going to start with the simple circuit we created in a previous post (connect the alligator clip to negative side of battery, then connect to knife switch, knife switch to lamp holder, lamp holder to positive side of battery).

Now let’s make some modifications and create a parallel circuit. In a parallel circuit, the voltage stays constant in each branch of the circuit.

Creating a Parallel Circuit

Using our simple circuit with the knife switch in the upright position, we are going to add another load (light) and create a parallel circuit.

  1. Take a wire with alligator clips and attach to one side of the existing lamp holder.
  2. Using a separate wire, attach one end to the other side of the existing lamp holder (*note: there will be 2 clips attached to each side of the existing lamp holder).
  3. Take the ends of the two wires that are free and clip one to each side of a new lamp holder with light bulb. When the knife switch is closed, both lights illuminate.

In a parallel circuit, the voltage stays constant in each branch of the circuit. So, using a 1.5V battery, both bulbs are receiving 1.5V of electricity. This is the reason both light bulbs have the same brightness. If you measured the current, you will find that the current is divided into each branch. Therefore, if 10 amps of current were flowing through the circuit, each light (or branch of the parallel circuit) would be receiving 5 amps of electricity. Adding the amount of current in each branch together, will give the total amount of current introduced into the circuit.

Now you’re well equipped to teach your students all about parallel circuits. Amazon has a many experiments to teach and explain how circuits work. Check out Energy Ball and Energy Stick.

How to set up an ant farm

Hello, fellow myrmecologists! Are you ready to study ants?

Ants are fascinating to observe, but there’s only so much of an ant’s life you can see on the ground. To take you to the underground life of an ant, try an ant farm.

We tried out the Giant Ant Farm. It’s so large, making it perfect for more than one child to observe ants, whether at home or in a classroom.

This is what came in the box:

The farm, an ant order form, ant food for a year, a water dropper, a straw, and sand.

Step 1: Fill the farm

There are cotton puffs blocking the holes so the sand won’t fall into the top area.

Pouring in sand

Next, add water to the farm:

pouring in water

The farm is nearly ready! The harvester ants, feeling air coming through the sponge, are futilely trying to escape.

Finally, push down the cotton puffs to allow access to the sand and to give the ants some tunnel starters.

Step 2: Bring the ants home

Before opening your package of ants, put them in the fridge for 15 minutes. (NOT the freezer!) This slows them down so you don’t have a stampede.

To put the ants in the farm, nudge one gently with the straw. It will grab onto the straw.

grabbing an ant

And put it into the farm. You may need to encourage it to grab onto the plastic shapes in the farm.

When the ants are in, close up the lid and let loose your mini myrmecologists.

Other ant farms and formicariums to try:

Classic Ant Farm

Illuminated Gel Ant Farm

Ant Hill

Ant series

For more on ants, see the rest of our articles in this series or follow us on Twitter and Pinterest.