This is an excellent resource written for adults – teachers, homeschooling, etc. – introducing the concept of the scientific method through easily obtainable insects. The directions and information are both thoroughly presented – it’s easy to use and fun for kids.
There are 114 experiments (most deal with the insect’s behavior under different conditions) broken down into categories: Beloved butterflies and citizen science, Bugs that squeak and hiss, Creatures found in and under logs, Terrestrial predators, and Insect reproduction. Insects studied include butterflies and caterpillars, madagascar hissing roaches, pill bugs, earthworms, crickets, millipedes, slime, ant lions, spiders, praying mantis, fruit flies, aphids, ladybugs, and mealworms. Complete directions are given on how to find, care for, and study the critters. The point is to study briefly and then rerelease safely.
Each category breaks down as follow: introduction, materials, background information, how to get and keep the organism, field hunt, organism at school, getting ready, observations and activities, and experiments. Those all support the scientific method of question, hypothesis, methods, result, and conclusion.
The experiments are varied and include everything from whether the bug prefers warm or cool habitats or if it will consistently make a choice when approaching a T intersection in a little maze. There are no dangerous organisms and full instructions on capturing safely to keeping healthy.
The book is extremely thorough and very do-able. So much of the difficulty of these types of experiments (from knowing where to get the insect to what to expect from it) is taken care of in advance. Note that the insects are mostly North American natives, so this would be a bit more difficult to e.g., a homeschooling ex pat in Europe. That said, we didn’t have any problem obtaining the insects for the experiments.
In all, there is a lot to like here. The experiments are respectful to nature but geared also to encourage inquisitiveness and adventure in kids. Highly recommended. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.