By: Sally Kneidel
Publisher: Fulcrum Publishing
Publication Date: April 2015
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: July 27, 2015
Did you ever think that having some Madagascar hissing roaches would be hiss-terically good pets to have? Probably not and undoubtedly most parents would give a definite thumbs down if you requested them as pets. If you read all about them, you just might want to learn more about them and actually snag yourself a terrarium and observe their behaviors. Of course that terrarium would have to have a very secure top. There are some ultra-interesting facts to be learned about Madagascar hissing roaches, including the fact that the females "provide maternal care for their young." Go figure, motherly bugs!
Now if you saw creepy crawlies like those Madagascar hissing roaches in your classroom, you probably wouldn't be at all surprised. There are a ton of things you can learn about bugs and critters of all sorts. Many kids have heard about black swallowtail butterflies and may have even read a book about raising them, but how about bessbugs? No, not bedbugs, bessbugs. They really are beautiful and are "sometimes called patent-leather beetles because they're shiny jet-black like patent leather."
Collecting critters is one thing, but there are so many things that can be learned from them and about them. Chances are you don't live in an area where you can forage for Madagascar hissing roaches, but you might be able to find some bessbugs under a rock or rotting log. Of course if you're a city-dweller, there's always the option of ordering many of the creepy crawlies discussed in this book. Before you even begin, you'll learn all about the scientific method in order to prepare yourself for your journey as a junior scientist.
Once you've got the scientific method down pat and understand the difference between it and a simple activity, you're good to go. You'll learn proper eco-friendly ways to attract and collect your critter of choice. In this book you'll not only learn about experiments, but also many facts about those creepy crawlies that co-exist with us. You can select from millipedes, butterflies, aphids, spiders, beetles, and yes, those Madagascar hissing roaches. Do you think a bessbug can learn to travel through a maze? You'll just have to run an experiment using the scientific method to find out!
This is an amazing hands-on book of science experiments children will love. I've read several books that have included some science experiments, but none quite as thorough and fun as this one. Sally Kneidel certainly knows from her work in a classroom and in the field what helps students learn. The introductory chapters introduce students to the scientific method and ways to attract and maintain them at home or in the classroom. Subsequent chapters are prefaced by an introduction, how to obtain the creepy crawlies of choice, material and housing needs, background information, behaviors, and other pertinent scientific facts followed by experiments. The book has numerous black and white photographs, line drawings,and reproducible charts and graphs. In the back of the book is an index and very comprehensible bibliography. This is an excellent resource for use in the homeschool or classroom setting.
Quill says: This is one of the best, most comprehensive books out there for learning about those creepy crawlies around us!