Keep an Ant Colony (Formicarium)

Ants are insects and are from the order Hymenoptera, the same order as wasps and bees. They were first seen about 110 to 130 million years ago. Ants are 0.75 to 52 mm long, and are usually black or red, with a few species that are green. Ants make up …

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Make Yoghurt and Grow Yeast

When people think about bacteria and fungi, they usually think of not being well or food going sour or mouldy, but actually bacteria and fungi are essential for foods we eat every day. Making Yoghurt Yoghurt (also spelled yogurt) is fermented milk. The milk is mixed with a starter containing …

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Grow Apples or Tomatoes in Bottles

‘Impossible bottles’ are bottles containing things that appear too big to have been put in through the neck of the bottle, such as ships, decks of cards, or whole fruit (some liqueurs come in bottles with whole fruit in them). Things like ships are actually put into the bottle in …

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Watching Minibeasts

Minibeasts are small invertebrates and include arthropods such as spiders, insects, woodlice, centipedes and millipedes, as well as slugs and snails and worms. Invertebrates are animals without backbones, which means that they are either soft bodied, like slugs, snails and worms, or have a hard outer skeleton like insects and …

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Finding and Watching Mites

Mites are small invertebrates from the group Arachnida, the same group as spiders. Many people are not aware of the mites around them, as most mites are microscopic. Mites as Pests Mites live all around the world, and many are pests, such as red spider mites, which attack plants, and …

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Finding Flowers and Trees

Many people feel that they have to travel to the countryside to see flowers and trees, but according to a study in Germany in 2008, there are more different species of plants found in towns and cities than in the countryside. One thing to remember, in both the town and …

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Make a Rubber Band from a Dandelion

Rubber is a natural product made from latex. Many plants, including dandelions, produce latex but most of the world’s latex, the key ingredient of rubber, comes from the rubber tree, Hevea brasiliensis. Rubber is a very versatile product, and has many uses, including tyres, balloons, balls, shoes, erasers, playground surfaces, …

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How Potatoes Begin: Grow Your Own Chips

Potatoes are tubers produced by the stems of the plant called Solanum tuberosum, which is part of the same family as tomatoes, peppers and aubergines. The plant produces tubers to store nutrients for itself, and to create new plants the next year. However, these tubers are also rather good to …

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Knowing Which Way is Up & Finding the Light

Plants respond to gravity and to light, with roots growing downwards and away from the light, and shoots growing upwards and towards the light. The response to gravity is called geotropism, and the response to light is called phototropism. This makes roots grow into the ground towards nutrient and water …

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How Seeds Grow

A seed is a minute dormant plant that is waiting for the right conditions to grow (germinate). Seeds range from orchid seeds weighing a millionth of a gram to seeds from the coco-de-mer palm tree that weigh around 20 kg. Conditions for Growth All seeds need warmth and water, but …

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