The weekend before I was to teach my Tuesday science class I did a little shopping. Now if anyone knows me, I am not a big clothes shopper (yes, I do not fit the “girl” shopping stereotype very well!). The items on my shopping list read as follows: 40 small crickets, 4 small pet carrying cases, cotton balls, and various scents/extracts. We have a Leapord Gecko at home as a pet, so my own children were not as surprised to see Mommy bring home a bunch of crickets. My students, however, had a different reaction!
While my student were outside for recess I brought in the cases of crickets from the trunk of my car and was set up by the time the bell rang. First reaction as the students entered back into the room: “Are those crickets Mrs. Uppal?! Ewwwwww…crickets!!!” It is funny how students can be horrified/unsure/smiling/excited all at the same time!
A large component of our Habitats & Communities unit has to do with experimentation, which is the main focus on the grade 5 reports this first term in my class. The students were put into equal groups and first had a chance to watch their crickets (it is cute how naturally the students start trying to name some of them).
The question we were to answer was how crickets’ behaviour is affected by different odors. First, we went over what an experiment looks like (question, hypothesis, data collection/method, conclusion), and then got down to work!
The first cotton ball was our control, which had no scent. The students watched for 4 minutes & recorded what they observed. They then took the cotton ball out, gave the crickets a 2 minute break with nothing in the case before adding the first/next scent.
We alternated scented balls in the case (4 min each) with a break in between (2 min). You can use a variety of different scents, but the ones I chose to use were vanilla extract, peppermint extract, and lemon extract. I wanted to have natural scents instead of chemically produced odors (such as a pine spray, for example).
We had a wonderful class discussion afterwards and we discussed our question & conclusion. Many of the students wanted to take a cricket home afterwards, but I thought it may not be such a welcomed surprise at home, so I opted to bring them home for Charlie (our gecko) for dinner for that week instead. 😉