In keeping with the theme of tomorrow night's 8/21/12 #STEMchat on Twitter, raising kids who love science, I thoughts I'd share an experiment (gone partially awry) that we did six years ago when my newly minted 7th grader was just a wee elementary schooler. Inspired by Linda Sue Park's wonderful book, Project Mulberry, and my young boys' classroom study of the Silk Road, we decided to raise silkworms for a science fair project.
My blogs on the topic were so notable that I received a shout-out on major silkworm resource site.
Looking back, yes, my posts were informative and funny. And, yes, this is a good home project to take on if you don't mind a bit of work and occasional odor. The only thing you need to know, and for the love of Mother Nature please heed my advice, do not hatch more than 10 eggs at a time. Okay, 20 if you're curious and don't like to take unsolicited advice. But I can assure you that you unless you want to decorate your family room/dining room/basement with silkworms, do not go beyond that or you will live to regret it and some of your silkworms will face an early death.
Here's how we got started. By the way, I ordered the eggs from Carolina, the company, not the state. A Bunch of Tiny Eggs in a Petri Dish
A Silkworm is Born I was sent about 3 times the quantity of eggs I ordered, so I didn't expect them all to hatch. But they did.
Care and Feeding of Silkworms
Sophie's Choice, or Playing God to the Silkworms
Seven Silkworms Spinning Actually there were closer to 40 silkworms spinning, and that was after I culled the population.
Harvesting the Silk
Seven Moths A-mating We harvested many eggs which sat in a baggy in our fridge for several months until we found a willing friend with a budding young scientist of her own.
I hope you'll join in on Twitter tomorrow night and share some of your family science fun! Look for #STEMchat at 9 Eastern, 8 Central, and 6 Pacific.
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