Sunday, April 6, 2014

Discovering Wasps

Late last fall some friends discovered an enormous wasp nest in their yard. Because they know we homeschool, and because they're wonderfully thoughtful, they passed on this beautiful creation for my boys to inspect and learn from. (Thank you Robinson's!) 
Coincidentally, our science curriculum this year has been about flying creatures - birds, bats, insects, and beetles. I knew our chapter on bees and wasps would happen in the spring so we held out on opening the wasp nest until this last week. 
The detail and intricacy of this nest was incredible to see up close! The layers, the colors, the egg chambers - amazing! - especially considering a bunch of buzzing insects chewed wood, mixed it with their saliva, and created this fascinating thing. Micah is still wondering "why spit from people can't make cool things, too?" 
My boys had their jackknives ready for the task, but the short blade proved inadequate. And, since I couldn't find Grady's small hand saw, I opted to use - ahem - a serrated steak knife. But we'll leave that as our secret, okay? I'd hate for any of my family or friends to decline a future dinner invitation because they know I use kitchen utensils for science projects.
The boys took turns cutting through layers and layers of fine paper until they reached the center, which was a hard core with lots of unhatched eggs and some dead larvae. I wasn't thrilled to discover rotting larvae, but Grady Lee was fascinated by it all. Micah ran to get some magnifying glasses to take a closer look and Annalyse refused to have anything to do with it. She finally changed her mind when she realized we were all having fun touching and looking.
Wasps in the house? On the kitchen table? Using a steak knife? Just another science lesson around here.

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