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A 4th grade science fair fail: What Color are Moths Attracted to?

please, don't do!

 

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by Lani Yamafuji in 4th grade, how to
A 4th grade science fair project: What color are moths attracted to?

 

A lepidopterist is someone who studies butterflies and moths. That’s just what my daughter and I did when we visited the Cockrell Butterfly Center at the Houston Museum of Natural Science yesterday. The beauty in the photo above was so still, I saw many kids run right by it without taking any notice!

Our favorite part was watching the butterflies emerge from their chrysalis and seeing the wings get straighter and stronger. And the amazing colors – some looked like they were made of gold!

Butterflies emerging from their chrysalis

If you want to see an easy chart on how to tell the difference between Butterflies versus Moths, get some Moth and Butterfly coloring pages, or get tips for your next Caterpillar Hunt, check out Insect Science Investigations for Kids: Butterflies and Moths over at the blog Growing With Science.

In the free flight area of the butterfly center we watched as colors darted here and there. I was so excited to see the Blue Morpho butterfly. Two years ago, my daughter and I traveled to the Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador, and try as I might, I could not get a picture of the Blue Morpho flying around us! This butterfly has the most amazing light reflecting iridescent wings. 

Blue Morpho Butterfly

All this reminds me of a science fair project I judged about moths. A 4th grader had a good idea going, but the execution just wasn’t there.

A Science Fair Experiment Fail

Question: Are moths more attracted to red, green, blue, or yellow lights?

Procedure: Cover my porch light with a different colored transparent film each night, and count how many moths are at the light over a 2 hour period.

Materials: Red, green, blue, and yellow transparent book report covers or binder separators taped together to fit over my front porch light.

Results: No moths came.

Judge’s comments: That’s it – no moths, the end! Not good enough.

The question and procedure of this project are fine, but an experiment must have some results to answer the question or else it is incomplete.

Science Fair and Weather. Make sure you can answer your question.

This project was conducted in January (since it was due in early February) and winter just isn’t a good time to observe moths! Think about these things before you set your mind to a certain project. And, what if your project doesn’t work? Just do another one.

A Quote

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Your Challenge

Become a lepidopterist. Attract some butterflies or moths to your own yard. (Yes, make sure it is the right time of year!)

The Cockrell Butterfly Center fed the butterflies with flowering plants, simple syrup solution, and fruit.

Feeding Butterflies

If you want to learn more about attracting butterflies read “6 Frugal Ways to Attract Butterflies to Your Yardover at Premeditated Leftovers

Which fruit do butterflies like best? Let me know.

Or, if it’s not a good time of year outside for butterflies, just pretend you are a butterfly by slurping up some juice with your long proboscis (the long straw-like tube butterflies use to drink) If you don’t have a proboscis, you can just use a regular straw.

 

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GET YOUR FREE SCIENCE FAIR CHEAT SHEET!

Learn the 3 Secrets to Winning from a science fair judge, teacher, and mom. It could be life changing. Make this science fair the best ever!

it's 100% free!
Only for K-8th Grade Winners!