Al Qamar Academy, Chennai, Grade 3
Small Science – Class 3
Unit 1 – The Living World
Little critters – 2
We decided to try the terrarium activity (Small Science Class 3 Teacher’s Book, pp.68-72). It started when Aneesa Aunty caught a garden spider and a wall spider, and brought them to school. We loved seeing the garden spider clicking its pincers and the wall spider with its tiny body and long legs. The wall spider had a largish abdomen. Was it pregnant?
Murshida Aunty had brought a lot of big transparent red bottles to make terrariums. We decided to find other creatures. We filled mud and also transplanted small neem plants, that we found growing under a neem tree, in the bottles. Then we trapped a lot of red bugs. They call them ‘Bumstuck Bugs’ (see photo and Aadhil’s drawing in http://smallscience.hbcse.tifr.res.in/little-critters-1). They seem to be eating the leaves of the neem plants. We put in the dead body of a red bug – will the live ones eat that?
Abdullah and Abdul Majid dug deep searching for earthworms… the discovery of the first earthworm was accompanied with great excitement. It was long, segmented and we watched how it drags itself forward. They found many more earthworms that we put into the earthworm box with soil and covered them with dry leaves. Safwan and Hani wanted pet earthworms so Aunty gave them boxes to take them home and feed them.
An amazing discovery was a spider which had interesting markings on its back – it looked as if had droopy eyes and a smile. It was slightly smaller than the other garden spider we had seen. We caught it and put it into the spider terrarium. Abdurrahman thought it was a Leopard Spider. We added big black ants to the box as food for the spiders. Unfortunately, it seems the black ants were the predators and the spider was the prey. We saw a big black ant scrambling around with a spider in its pincers. Was it the “smiley spider?” The wall spider also couldn’t be seen after a bit. Where did it go?
Aadhil discovered a big fat white grub. We put it into a bottle and covered it with damp mud. We planted small neem plants on it. The grub didn’t like the attention and dug itself in. The white grub – we called it Digger – was fascinating. It had white dots on each side of its segments, a hard head but the body looked fat and squishy. When Aunty moved the mud off it, it quickly dug itself back into the mud and hid itself.
A few Days later
One earthworm crawled out today and scared Murshida Aunty. I think we watered them too much and made them come out. We put the earthworms back in the soil.
We found out from Dr. Geetha Iyer*, a biology teacher and insect expert, that the fat grub was the larva of a beetle, that it voraciously eats plant roots and it can destroy plants completely by munching away at their roots underground. The little neem roots were probably not sufficient for this larva and when we looked for it again it was dead.
The Smiley spider was still alive today! So the ants hadn’t eaten it. There was a big black ant sharing the bottle with the garden spider. They both seem scared of each other – when they come close, they both start backing off.
Aneesa Aunty brought another two house spiders today to show us. But when she reached school, we saw the big spider had the little spider in its mouth. Do they eat each other?
Someone turned the bottle with the Bumstuck Bugs and some bugs died. We decided to empty out the bottles and let the bugs and spiders go. We realised we must learn to take better care of all little creatures.
Another few Days later
…Aadhil found a millipede in school today and put it in a box with a big green leaf. It had many many legs – we could’t count them. The legs were red in colour. We saw the millipede was curled tightly – Aneesa Aunty told us it was scared so it curled up. Aadhil noticed that it had bitten two holes in the leaf. We all tried to draw the millipede.
We left the millipede back again in the garden. Here are some more photos of our ‘Little critters’ activity.
Visitor from HBCSE
* Check out Dr. Geetha Iyer’s books ‘Satpada, Our World of Insects‘ and ‘The Weavers’, published by HarperCollins India in 2016.