Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Maggot Art' Offers Children Colorful Lesson In Entomology

Date:
September 13, 2007
Source:
Texas A & M University
Summary:
After soaking in paint, dozens of maggots squirmed across construction paper leaving colorful trails behind them. "They're not going to be moving fast, so you have to be patient," Kim Schofield told a class of 31 fifth-grade students. Behold maggot art, said Schofield, a Texas Cooperative Extension program specialist in entomology.

Texas Cooperative Extension specialist Kim Schofield and fifth-grader Sarah Medina use maggots to create art.
Credit: Texas Cooperative Extension photo by Mike Jackson

After soaking in paint, dozens of maggots squirmed across construction paper leaving colorful trails behind them.

"They're not going to be moving fast, so you have to be patient," Kim Schofield told a class of 31 fifth-grade students. Behold maggot art, said Schofield, a Texas Cooperative Extension program specialist in entomology.

But it wasn't art for art's sake, Schofield said. She allows students to handle the maggots in her presentations on entomology at schools around the Dallas area. It's a fun, effective method of engaging children. She picked up the idea from a forensic entomologist at the University of California at Davis.

"By using maggots, I help students gain an appreciation for insects," Schofield said. "I teach students to appreciate their role and to not be afraid of them."

Schofield gave her presentation recently at J. Erik Jonsson Community School in Dallas. She was invited by Anne Mechler, a teacher who is in charge of the school's science club.

"The kids think it's cool to dip the maggots in paint and watch them crawl around," Mechler said.

Schofield opened her lesson with a discussion about arthropods, a group of animals that includes insects, arachnids and crustaceans. She introduced the class to Trixie, her pet tarantula, and described the difference between harmful centipedes and pet-worthy millipedes.

"There are over a million types of insects in our world," she said. "Not all of them are bad. Not all of them need to be squished." Schofield also held up two hissing cockroaches, which were as long as her fingers, and allowed the kids to pet them.

"When I was your age I was very fearful of insects," she said. "But the more courses I took, the more I learned about insects. And then I got excited about insects."

Then it was time for the maggots.

"Are maggots good for the environment?" she said. "Yes, because they eat decaying things."

Mechler and Schofield distributed the construction paper and non-toxic, water-based paint. They carefully removed maggots from their containers, where they fed on fermenting corn meal. Each student got two or three to dip in the paint.

"They have a bit of an odor, like manure or a barn at the state fair," Schofield warned.

Alex Flores, 10, dipped his three maggots in blue, green and yellow paint. In about 30 minutes, they filled the page with crisscrossing and curly lines. "They feel slimy," Flores said.

He admitted to being nervous about touching the maggots at first.

"But not anymore," he said. "At first they smelled nasty. The paint makes them smell better."

Sarah Medina, 10, named one of her maggots Curly. "He's a lazy fatty," she said, as the maggot moved slowly across the paper.

After the lesson, Schofield collected the maggots and rinsed them off for her next presentation. No one, she said, has ever questioned whether the process was harmful to the maggots. But she pointed out to the class that the paint doesn't bother them.

"These maggots are quite hardy," said Schofield, who started doing maggot art last year. "But usually people don't care about maggots. There are no maggot advocacy groups."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Texas A & M University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Texas A & M University. "'Maggot Art' Offers Children Colorful Lesson In Entomology." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070912145048.htm>.
Texas A & M University. (2007, September 13). 'Maggot Art' Offers Children Colorful Lesson In Entomology. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070912145048.htm
Texas A & M University. "'Maggot Art' Offers Children Colorful Lesson In Entomology." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070912145048.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Movies Might Desensitize Violence For Parents, Not Just Kids

Movies Might Desensitize Violence For Parents, Not Just Kids

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A study suggests that parents become desensitized to violent movies as well as children, which leads them to allow their kids to view violent films. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) In a ruling attorneys for both sides agreed was a first of its kind, a Georgia appeals court said parents can be held liable for what kids put online. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins