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Vocabulary Words

  • Compound Eye – an eye consisting of an array of numerous small visual units.
  • Entomology – the study of insects.
  • Upper UV Spectrum – Reds, Blues and Greens.

Fun Facts

  • Dragonflies can fly 60 mph.
  • Dragonflies eat 30-100 insects a day while flying.

At Home Activity

Insect Eye Exam
From National Science Teaching Association

Materials:

  • 1 pair of scissors*
  • 1 cardboard tube from a roll of toilet tissue or paper towels
  • 12 drinking straws
  • Tape

*Ask an adult for help with cutting the tube.

Build a model of an insect’s compound eye and look through it to get an idea of how it might look to get multiple images (pictures) from a compound eye.

Directions:
1. Use the scissors to cut down one side of the cardboard tube so you can open it.

2. Cut each straw in half so you have 24 straws.

3. Bundle the straws together and wrap the cardboard tube around the straws to hold them together. Tape the tube.

4. Close one eye and look through the tube.

5. Try to find a moving object, such as the blades on a fan, to look at through the tube.

Questions:
1. How was seeing through the model of the compound eye different than what you normally see through your eyes?

2. How might your life be different if you couldn’t see as clearly but you could detect movement much better?

3. Most insects can see various colors, such as yellow, blue, green, violet, and some insects even see ultraviolet. Many insects, however, do not have the ability to see the color red. Try the next activity to see through an insect’s point of view.

Seeing Red (Or Not)

Materials:

  • 1 piece of red cellophane or plastic wrap

Directions:
1. Hold the red cellophane or plastic wrap in front of your eyes and look at the room around you. Do not wrap the cellophane around your head.

2. Look directly at an object in the room that is red. What do you see?

Questions:
1. What did you observe when you looked at the room through the red cellophane or plastic wrap?

2. When you looked at a red object through the red cellophane you saw the object more as an insect would see it. How would the room you are looking at right now look different if you couldn’t see the color red?

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