This Easter holiday we had lots of fun at Oriel Science and ran various activities here at our city-centre venue.
Our Easter theme’s 'Jointed Jamboree’ activities were inspired by our “Crab Maze” and “Insect” exhibits. We explored Arthropods which are estimated to contain 80% of all known animal species! We learned how these animals with jointed legs and no bones move and how they are able to survive in every habitat on Earth!
Visitors participated in an ‘Illusive Insect Hunt’ hunting down 6 pictures of insects hidden around the venue which spelt out ‘Earwig’ which is considered to be an “illusive” insect! The prize drawer winner of this “Illusive Insect Hunt” won a vintage “Beetle” game!
In our Science Corner, visitors looked at various specimens and then designed their own insects with the required 3 body parts and 6 legs and a fantastic variety of imaginary adaptations. Our blackboard question asked “What could we do to help the insect population recover from their decline?”, and some of our visitors made a mini bug hotel to do just that in their own gardens.
We ran 8 workshops over the two weeks where we learnt about the four main groups of arthropods and were able to look at 32 different specimens from all over the world! We studied the structure of crabs and could handle crab moults, the exoskeleton that the crab discards as it grows. Visitors used microscopes to look closely at legs, wings, mouthparts, and even whole tiny bodies! Our most popular activity was the dissection of a king prawn, where our workshop participants were able to understand the difference between swimming and crawling legs and remove body parts for further study under the microscope.
What is an Arthropod?
An Arthropod is an animal with an exoskeleton and jointed legs; 'arthro', meaning joints and 'pod', meaning legs. Scientists estimate there to be over 10 million identified species! There are also some we will never see again due to extinction. If you would like more info on this, head to https://www.iucn.org/about-iucn
The four main groups of arthropods are:-
Insects which have 6 legs and include earwigs, beetles and ants.
Arachnids which have 8 legs and include spiders and scorpions.
Crustaceans which have gills and include crabs, crayfish and prawns.
Myriapods which have many legs and include millipedes and centipedes.