Make Your Students Become a Heat Sensing Bug

November 19, 2008

I found this article at the Science News for Kids website about a seed-eating bug that feeds itself from the seeds of white pine cones. Well, that doesn’t sound special!

The special thing about this bug is that it finds it’s food by sensing it’s warmth. Scientists found that the pine cones are “always about 15 degrees Celsius warmer than the surrounding needles”. Then they did experiments with the bug to determine if it truly was using heat sensors to find it’s food.

Replicate the Experiment

The way the scientists determined that the pine cones were warmer than the needles is something that science teachers might be able to do in school surroundings to engage your kinesthetic and visual learners. To be able to replicate the test you need a heat sensing camera. Where can you get this? Both firemen and heating and cooling companies use thermal detectors. You could invite a firemen or an employee of a heating and cooling company that evaluates homes to help with a lesson like this one if their equipment is useful for this kind of experiment and if they’re available.

Check out the article to find out how the scientists determined that this bug found the pine cones by sensing it’s warmth.

Link to the article