Thursday, May 24, 2012

BUGS! Glow-in-the-Dark Fireflies

I know I promised that ladybugs would be next, but we didn't get to them on Monday when Car was here, I was sick on Tuesday (so we didn't do anything), and Wednesday is my "day off".  Thursday dawned gray and rainy...
 and when the power went out, plunging us into semi-darkness, I decided it was a perfect day to work on fireflies (or lightning bugs, if you prefer).  They're just in time for Memorial Day picnics or camping trips, too.
This abstract looking thing is one of our fireflies, glowing in the dark.  Don't worry.  I've got some better pics--just not of it glowing.  Can you make out the antennae sort of in the middle/right, and the wings near the top on the left?
 In order to make a firefly, first we needed to know what they look like, so we read Fireflies by Nicole Helget.
This looks exactly like the pic above, doesn't it?
This book was written at a perfect level for my preschoolers, and would work for lower elementary as well.  It was interesting and informative--did you know that if frogs eat too many fireflies, they will glow in the dark?  My one complaint is that the typeface is all caps, which makes it a little difficult to read.

But, we found out what we needed to know, which is that fireflies have 2 eyes, 2 antennae, 6 legs, 4 wings, and a glow in the dark abdomen.  Then we set to work.

  • an empty 16 or 20 oz soda bottle, preferably green, with a cap (we found ours in recycling bins at the children's museum).
  • two beads
  • six pipe cleaners
  • construction paper
  • glue and/or tape
  • glowsticks (we used glow bracelets rather than glowsticks, because they were less expensive and I wanted the kids to have several chances to use their fireflies.  However, glowsticks will give a stronger glow)

Make It:
  1. Wash and dry your soda bottle and cap
  2. Paint the cap black, or color it with black permanent marker
  3. Glue on beads for eyes (I would recommend hot glue, but since our power was out, we used tacky glue)
  4. Twist 1 pipecleaner around the neck of the soda bottle, to form antennae
  5. Twist 3 pipecleaners around the body of the bottle to form 6 legs
  6. Twist the remaining 2 pipecleaners into 4 wings
  7. Replace the cap on the bottle, and arrange the legs, wings, and antennae so they line up correctly with the eyes on the bottle cap (legs down, wings and antennae up).  Glue or tape in place.
  8. Cut a piece of construction paper to go around the bottle and cover the leg pipecleaners, and tape or glue in place.
  9. Wait until dark, crack your glowstick, and place it in the bottle.

Aren't they cute?  These bugs will make a perfect nightlight for Roger on our next camping trip.

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