30 Days. 30 Bugs. Teaching kids all the YIKES about the Firefly…
During June, I will be offering some pretty interesting bugs to you and your kids… bugs that will excite and entertain kids while teaching them. Each and every little word or fun piece of information is a building block to love of learning and literacy.
Come along for the YIKES! It’s gonna be a buggah!
Do you know what bioluminescence is? If you guessed it has something to do with the Firefly, you are correct!
The Firefly, often called the Lightning Bug, makes light with its body through the process of bioluminescence (from the Greek bio + lumen = living light). It’s fun to think of the Firefly as “living light”!
So what is this bioluminescence thing? And do humans have it? Let’s find out.
This is going to get a tiny bit scientific for a moment. Some creatures, like the Firefly, produce chemicals called luciferin and luciferase. The luciferin reacts with oxygen to create light within their bodies, and the part that lights is called the lantern.
And this light is used by the Firefly to attract a mate. YIKES!
Male and female Fireflies of the same species communicate by flashing GLOW signals to each other. These displays of fire in the night have delighted children, adults, poets, scientists and just about everyone else for just about forever.
Another reason for the glow of the Firefly is to avoid predators. One nasty mouthful of the Firefly’s chemical called lucibufagens is enough to keep a predator away from that otherwise delightful glow. YIKES!
Let your kids in on the delightful secrets of the Firefly. If you can, get outside to watch its delightful night show. Tell your kids that the Firefly isn’t really a fly… but a beetle; and that the Japanese word for Firefly is hotaru, implying harmony between humankind and all creatures on earth. Nice.
And don’t forget to discover whether or not human beings have the bioluminescence thing. (Hint: we don’t… but what an interesting way to find a suitable mate!)
Join me here each day in June for 30 days. 30 Bugs. – a little fun, a little learning and a lotta YIKES!