Spring Science: Calling All Animal Lovers
Bunnies and chicks remind us that spring is here! No matter what sort of animals you have in your household, Science Buddies has a menagerie of Project Ideas for you to try.
Learning from Your Pet
Your pet may be a big part of your family, and observing and caring for your pet can be a part of your science learning, too! How do you train pets? How do you feed them to ensure their nutrition? How does the time of the day impact their behavior or sleep patterns? There are all kinds of questions you can ask and science you can explore!
I've never kept chickens or rabbits, but I do have plenty of wild rabbits hopping around my back yard at certain times of the year. They eat all of the flower buds off of my creeping phlox, but it is hard to get mad at something so darn cute.
The Zoo in Your House
According to the American Humane Society, 62% of U.S. households have a pet, so caring for an animal is a rite of passage for many kids. Do you look after a pet at home? Dogs, cats, hamsters, rabbits, and fish are popular choices for families. If you have lots of space, you may have something bigger, such as a horse or a flock of chickens.
Pets are a big responsibility, but they often reward us with love and companionship. They also can help us explore interesting science questions. Imagine caring for your pets and collecting data for your science project all at the same time. It is possible!
Take a look at these Science Buddies Project Ideas:
- How Much Do Different Pet Species Eat Compared to Each Other?: Not only do different animals eat different foods, but some also eat more than others relative to their body weight. If you have two or more different types of pets, such as a cat and a turtle, this Project Idea lets you explore whether or not an animal's food intake is related to its size.
- Eggs and Hen's Diet: Can You Get Bigger Eggs for Peanuts?: Got chickens? Then this is the project for you! Try adding peanuts to your hens' diet to see how it affects the weight of the eggs they produce.
- Pet Poll: A Taste Test for Fluffy & Fido: Does your pet have a flavor preference? Offer different treats once a day for several weeks to see if there is a pattern to their choices.
- Feeding Fido & Fluffy: Designing an Automatic Pet Feeder*: If you like designing and building, why not try your hand at constructing a contraption for feeding your pet? Get creative with household materials to solve this engineering challenge!
- Tricks for Treats: How Long Does it Take to Train Your Pet?: When the doctor asks you to "Say Ahhhh," you open your mouth on command. Believe it or not, zoo animals are trained in similar ways so that they can receive veterinary care. Can you train your pet to do a trick? Try and find out!
No Pets in the House?
If you don't have a pet, or if wild animals are where your interests lie, Science Buddies still has Project Ideas for you. Take a look at the animal-related student science projects below, or check out Science Buddies' Zoology area for more ideas.
- Watch Out! That Wild Animal Might Be Rabid!
- Where, Oh Where Do the Wild Wolves Wander?
- Bat Detector: Listen to the Secret Sounds of Bats
- Can You Predict a Bird's Lifestyle Based on Its Feet?
As for my backyard rabbits, I didn't see them this winter. I am guessing that they moved on to yards with tastier foliage...or perhaps the local fox has had a feast. I guess I'll find out when my creeping phlox plants start to bud !
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