Hunting for Minibeasts
Science for Families: Activities supporting the ‘Pooter’ session
This resource is designed to accompany the Science for Families course delivered by NUSTEM or one of our partners. It’s a six-week parent and child course delivered in primary schools.
You’re welcome to use the resources for other purposes, but they might not make quite as much sense!
It may look a little home-made, but your pooter is the first step on your journey to becoming an entomologist – that’s the type of scientist who investigates the world of insects! You’ll have used your pooter already to collect minibeasts in habitats near your Science for Families session, so now it’s time to explore your own backyard, garden, or a park close to home!
Remember to take care when using your pooter. Follow these rules:
- Only capture one insect at a time. Empty your pooter between goes.
- Make sure you return insects back where you found them.
- Handle insects gently – remember you are a lot bigger than they are!
If you’d like to learn a bit more about the fascinating world of entomology – that’s the study of insects – scroll down for more experiments to try.
Becoming an entomologist
Here’s an excellent video from the BBC, which includes information about loads of different insects and minibeasts you might find in the UK and further abroad. We think it’s well worth exploring.
Whilst out bug hunting, NUSTEM recorded this video of an ants nest in Exhibition Park, Newcastle:
Entomologists aren’t just interested in where mini beasts live – they also want to know how they behave.
To experiment with animal behaviour, try making a simple choice chamber to see which kind of environment woodlice prefer. The folks over at Science Sparks have put together a tutorial for making one, which you can find here.
So today you’ve been exploring the wonderful world of botany – the science of plants. I bet you’ve also got up close and personal with a strange and wonderful Venus Fly Trap.
Hopefully your plant and the little plastic tube made it safely home. If they did, it’s time to do a little experiment. Scroll down for instructions!
Botany is a pretty cool area of science. If you fancy finding out a bit more about the wonderful world of plants, head outside and have a look around – you’ll find thousands of different types all over the place!
An experiment: multicoloured flowers
For this experiment, you’ll need:
- Your white flower (its called a chrysanthemum)
- A cup half filled with water
- Some food colouring (blue is good)
What to do (scientists call this the Method):
- Add 6 drops of your food colouring to the water.
- Remove the flower from its plastic vial and put the stem into the coloured water.
- Leave it for a few hours.
- Come back and see what has happened!
- Take a photo and email it to us – we’d love to add it to our gallery below.
If you get stuck, try watching the video on the right – it’ll show you exactly what to do.
What’s going on?
Hopefully, after a couple of hours, you will see some of the colour from the water on the petals. Before you read on, stop and ask yourself this question:
How has the colour got from the water to the petal?
In humans, all the nutrients and waste is transported around our bodies through blood vessels. These are little (and sometime big) pipes that connect your entire body. If you close one eye and look in a mirror you can probably see these blood vessels on your eyelid, they are little red lines.
Plants also transport waste, nutrients and water around. They do this using a special tubes. Tubes so small you can’t see them with your eye. This is why your flower has turned blue (or green, or whatever coloured food colouring you use), water has travelled up the tubes into the petals. Because the water was blue, the petals turned blue!
The Think Physics Flower Gallery
Cookie and Privacy Settings
Click on the different category headings to find out more. You can also change some of your preferences. Note that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our websites and the services we are able to offer.
These cookies are strictly necessary to provide you with services available through our website and to use some of its features.
We provide you with a list of stored cookies on your computer in our domain so you can check what we stored. Due to security reasons we are not able to show or modify cookies from other domains. You can check these in your browser security settings.
These cookies collect information that is used either in aggregate form to help us understand how our website is being used or how effective our marketing campaigns are, or to help us customize our website and application for you in order to enhance your experience.
If you do not want that we track your visit to our site you can disable tracking in your browser here:
We also use different external services like Google Webfonts, Google Maps, and external Video providers. Since these providers may collect personal data like your IP address we allow you to block them here. Please be aware that this might heavily reduce the functionality and appearance of our site. Changes will take effect once you reload the page.
Google Webfont Settings:
Google Map Settings:
Google reCaptcha Settings:
Vimeo and Youtube video embeds:
The following cookies are also needed - You can choose if you want to allow them: