Ideas for elementary projects including millipedes?

dinosaur

Arachnopeon
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Oct 30, 2012
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My daughter, 8, is getting to the age where we are doing science projects, research, etc. She really wants to do a project that includes a millipede or millipedes (kinda being obvious about angling for a pet millipede....but that's ok) and I was wondering if anyone had any ideas for a creative project. We can do the whole "what do millipedes prefer to eat" and whatnot, but I wanted to do something a little cooler. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks.

---------- Post added 02-11-2013 at 11:06 AM ----------

I may should have mentioned we are planning to get a couple of giant tropical millipedes from Ward's Science.
 

JZC

Arachnobaron
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Oct 9, 2012
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My friend is doing a what do they like to eat project. As most people could tell you: Fruit and Vegetables. Maybe you could set some up as singles and others communally to explore the advantages and disadvantages of them living alone and communally.
 

nick22

Arachnopeon
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Mar 19, 2012
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Best I can think of whould be trying them in different substrates. One with coco fiber, peat moss and all leaves. You can check there ability to hold humidity, mold growth and their ability to sustain tunnels.
 

dtknow

Arachnoking
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Some dietary preference experiments might be interesting-but these can be difficult as weighing fruit/vegetables is not as easy as it seems(wet weight may change dramatically during the experiment even if they eat nothing-for example). Plus animals being used in experiments will invariably not eat.

A T/Y maze could be used to determine if millipedes can sense airborne moisture. One end of the Y maze you could put a wet paper towel or something to bring the humidity up on one side over the other. Hygrometers could be used to measure humidity.

You will have better results with more experimental animals. Consider using snails-locally collected millipedes, or something else. Save the wardsci ones for a reward for a job well done,
 
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Cavedweller

Arachnoprince
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It's great that your daughter is getting into millipedes (and that you're willing to support it).

(I'm writing this under the assumption that you're fairly inexperienced with bugkeeping but please correct me if this is wrong)

I'm always a little worried about using animals in kids' projects, just for the bugs' welfare. I still feel bad about the ants that met an untimely end in my 3rd grade science project.

Perhaps your daughter could do some research on the various millipede caresheets available in this corner of the net and write a paper from her findings. I did a paper like that in second grade on silkie chickens (never did get a pet out of it though).

I've never used Ward's Science before, but I'm always pretty skeptical of places that don't specialize in live animals and don't label the species or even the genus. You may be able to get healthier bugs at a better price from a specialty breeder like Bugsincyberspace or Ken the Bug Guy. (If someone's had good experiences with Ward's Science please correct me!)

I personally find the way millipedes interact with each other quite interesting to study, but that may be difficult for a child to observe since they're most active late at night. However, I have found that a piece of dry dog food is an well received treat that brings the millipedes out in droves even in the daytime.
 

zonbonzovi

Creeping beneath you
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If you have access to a microscope, a "what's in my poop" exploration may be a hit. It would give an opportunity to explain the service that millipedes provide via further breaking down decomposing materials + a cursory overview of things that potentially live or pass through their gut. The local zoo did something along these lines called The Scoop on Poop: The Science of What Animals Leave Behind.
 

Cavedweller

Arachnoprince
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Hahahaha now that's a good idea! I would be very interested in seeing that.
 

dinosaur

Arachnopeon
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Oct 30, 2012
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If you have access to a microscope, a "what's in my poop" exploration may be a hit. It would give an opportunity to explain the service that millipedes provide via further breaking down decomposing materials + a cursory overview of things that potentially live or pass through their gut. The local zoo did something along these lines called The Scoop on Poop: The Science of What Animals Leave Behind.
WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER!! We did buy a microscope earlier this year so this would be great. I'm also interested....I mean, WE are also interested in the maze/humidity experiment.

We home school and my daughter is part of a co-op which will cover the cost of the millipedes as long as she is doing some sort of research (they only have a few sites that we can purchase from...Ward's being one). We recently went to a pumpkin patch that had an entomology exhibit where she got to hold some large tropical millipedes and just loved them. It's been almost six months and she brings up how she would be responsible in taking care of them at least once a week. If these go well, we probably will branch out a little bit with different species and will likely go with more of the specialty website as we'll be utilizing our own cash.

Anyway, thank you so much for the ideas. Gonna be a ton of fun.
 

zonbonzovi

Creeping beneath you
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I also like dt's idea...animal navigation in general is rather fascinating esp. considering how much we've lost with all this "higher level" thought, lol. Let us know how it goes!
 
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