Posts Tagged ‘ school experiment ’

When plants eat insects, where do they go? A carnivorous plant dissection experiment for kids. When Love Bites

Posted on: January 14th, 2021 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments

Do plants have stomachs and teeth? How are they able to catch prey like other carnivores if they can’t run? And when they catch insects, where do they go? These are mind-baffling questions indeed and certainly worthy of a little hands-on investigation! Scientists, biologists, and creepy-crawler lovers, are you ready to find out what happens when love bites this February? Eeeeew!

Did you know?

Carnivorous plants, also known as insectivorous plants, are those which get their nutrition by catching and digesting insects. How cool is that? Carnivory in plants is owing to centuries of evolution, driven by pure instinct to survive in areas with nitrogen-poor soil. There are over 600 known species of insectivorous plants around the world, time to get yours!

The deadliest devils

Here are a few carnivorous contenders that will make the perfect dissection specimen.

  1. Sundew: These bad boys exude a sticky substance that attracts and then traps insects and other small prey. Their meal is quickly swallowed by a web of tiny tentacles and digested by enzymes within the plant stems and leaves.
  2. Venus Fly Trap: One of the most popular meat-eaters with trigger-sensitive, dangerous jaws! They use sweet nectar to attract their prey and then with interlocking teeth, trap their victims. Digestive enzymes get to work as the plant absorbs a lovely nutritious soup.
  3. American Trumpet Pitcher: This cleaver funnel-like plant hunts using a pit-fall trap. Insects are attracted by a nectar-like secretion on the top of the leaves. Unlucky for them, the nectar is poisonous, sending their intoxicated bodies tumbling down the funnel.
  4. Tropical Pitcher Plant: Similar to the beastie above but more sack-like in appearance. They too attract insects using sweet intoxicating nectar. Prey slip on the rims of the plant, falling into a pool of death and soon drowning inside a sticky acidic liquid. The horror!
Sundew, carnivorous plant, kids diy, school experiment
sundew, carnivore plant, diy, experiment
Venus fly trap, carnivourous plant, diy, experiment
Venus fly trap, carnivorous plant, dissecting
American Trumpet Pitcher, carnivorous plants, dissecting, experiment
American Trumpet Pitcher, dissecting carnivorous plants
Topical pitcher plant, dissecting carnivorous plants
Tropical pitcher plant, dissecting carnivorous plants

Experiment essentials:

  • A carnivorous plant
  • Crickets or similar small insects and a container to catch them in
  • Scissors
  • A sharp knife
  • Magnifying glass
What you need, experiment, dissecting carnivorous plants
Insects, dissecting carnivorous plants

The dissection process:

  • Approach your plant with caution, bringing your prey as a peace offering. Know what method your plant uses to hunt and eat so that you can position your insect in the right place.
  • Once you can see that your plant has taken the bait, give it about an hour and then, off with its head!
  • Cut the plant close to the base using a pair of scissors.
  • Use your knife to make a sleek slit down the plant, from leaf/flower top to the bottom of the stem. Open it up gently with your fingers.
  • Grab your magnifying glass and check out that exco-skeleton! You should be able to see the insect remains nicely (and a few other unfortunates down there too).

A meaty-must-know: Make sure you know how your deadly devil likes their soil so that you can home them for good and keep adding to the collection. They flourish in “poor” moist soil with some acidity that activates their instinct to source nitrogen from insects.

Insect, life is a garden , dissecting carnivorous plants
Dissecting carnivorous plants, experiment
Dissecting carnivorous plants, experiment
Dissecting carnivorous plants, experiment
Dissecting carnivorous plants, experiment
Dissecting carnivorous plants

This experiment is loaded with opportunities for exploration, discovery, and independent learning for the hungry young mind. Inspire your child to get in the garden and show them how awesome the natural world can be. Caring for a carnivorous plant is like having an exotic pet and requires much more attention than your average pot plant. Investing in one of these for the kids is a fantastic long-term project with countless “oh my word, it just ate a… coooool!”. #TeamGreenIsWinning

Carnivore plants, dissecting

Make your own water filtration system DIY Soil Water Filtration Experiment

Posted on: March 2nd, 2020 by Shahnee Stockigt No Comments
life is a garden soil water filtration

With World Water Day just around the corner, on the 22nd of March, Life is a Garden has put together an engaging water filtration experiment for the whole family. Get the kids involved and  teach them about water pollution and how to get clean water.

Living in a drought-stricken country, water is a very precious resource. Sadly, many South African’s do not have access to clean water. Teaching  kids about the importance of water in agriculture is an essential aspect of education and will help youngsters understand just how critical H2O is for  a healthy environment.

This fun science experiment teaches kids about the importance of clean drinking water. It also demonstrates the process of how to clean dirty or polluted water using a natural filtration system.

You can make a water filter using recycled materials found at home. This water experiment is appropriate for kids aged ten and up, and can be used during science class or as a hands-on, educational experiment at home.

You will need the following supplies:
  • Two glass jars
  • Fine, clean sand
  • Gravel or small stones
  • Rocks
  • Coffee filters, cotton balls or a small cloth
  • Activated charcoal
  • Clear plastic bottle
  • Dirty water
  • Scissors or a knife

1. Cut an old plastic soda or juice bottle in half using scissors or a knife.

2. Place the bottle upside down into the glass jar..

3. Place cotton balls, cloth, or a coffee filter inside the bottle as the first layer. The first layer should be about two to three centimetres thick.

4. Add three to five centimetres of activated charcoal as the second layer, on top of the cotton layer.

5. Over the charcoal, add about three centimetres of fine sand as the third layer.

6. Add about three to four centimetres of gravel or small stones on top of the fine sand.

7. Add the rocks to the bottle as the final layer.

8. Add dirt to a glass of water to create muddy water. You can also get creative by adding other things materials such as glitter, beads, cooking oil or other materials to make dirty water.

  1. Pour the glass of muddy/dirty water inside the homemade water filter and watch the water drip clean into the glass below.
  2. Once the water has dripped through the filter, pour the water back into the glass – you can now make a hypothesis or prediction about the experiment.

Water filters reduce the concentration of contaminants such as suspended particles, parasites, bacteria, algae, viruses, and fungi. They remove particles and impurities from water. Each layer of the homemade water filter has a purpose:

  • The small stones are used to filter out large sediments, like leaves or insects, whereas the sand is used to remove fine impurities.
  • Finally, the activated charcoal removes contaminants and pollutants through chemical absorption. In nature, water is purified and filtered through sand, soil, gravel, and even beneficial bacteria.
Life is a Garden Water filtration

Try different types of material in this experiment and have fun learning about water filtration. For more fun DIY projects, visit the Life is a Garden website