Thursday, 13 March 2014

Butterfly learning - Proboscis Power

At Butterflies for Africa, 
the Butterballs got an up-close-and-personal view of how butterflies feed.

The feeding stations were laden with fruit slices and exotic flowers.
The butterflies were so intent on feeding, 
they were not disturbed by the curious fingers that picked them up for a closer look.

'The butterflies stick out their looong tongue to lick up the orange juice,' explained Tamlyn to an equally confused Ethan.
Time for a hands-on explanation...

After showing the Butterballs pictures of the butterflies mouth, 
I explained that it is called a proboscis.
We talked about the proboscis being like a straw which the Butterflies use to suck up nectar...or orange juice.

Practical 1:
Supplies : Paper flowers (thanks Linda), drinking straws, bottle caps and OJ

I secured the bottle caps onto the center of the flower using prestick, 
then added a bit more prestick to the table 
to prevent the flowers from moving about and spilling OJ all over. 

After filling the bottle caps with OJ, I handed the Butterballs their straws and left them to it...

They loved the practical demo and quickly slurped up the OJ noisily.

Next, I explained that the butterflies keep their proboscis curled up and only unfurl it when they feed.

Practical 2 :
Supplies : party blowers and paper flowers.

I showed the Butterballs how to unfurl the blowers.
'Its curled up like the butterfly proboscis,' exclaimed Tamlyn.

Now for the tricky part, the Butterballs needed to unfurl the blower and tap the center of each flower.

Not as easy as it sounds...
but loads of fun!

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