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Next week is National Moth Week, so let's go crazy about moths!

This year geometrids are the featured moth family for National Moth Week. The name geometrid roughly translates as "earth measurer" and refers to the fact the larvae are mostly inchworms.

See our recent blog post about geometrid moths.

How to celebrate:

First, be sure to check the National Moth Week events page to see if there are any public events in your area. For example, here in Arizona there's a talk at Brandi Fenton Memorial Park in Tucson on July 28, 2018.

If there aren't any events, you can create some activities of your own. Check out the kids' page for an awesome coloring book to download, plus games and stories.

For some cool science in more depth, read this article about how Bogong Moths use magnetic fields to guide their long distance migrations in Australia.

Moth Blog Posts at Growing With Science:

If you ever want to learn more about moths, check out the moths category in the sidebar.

Or visit our growing list of children's books about moths and butterflies at Science Books for Kids.

Finally, we also have two Pinterest boards you might enjoy:  All About Moths and Butterfly and Moth Feeders to Make.

Let us know how you celebrate National Moth Week.

For STEM Friday this week we have a middle grade science book, The Secret of the Bird's Smart Brain. and More! (Animal Secrets Revealed!) by Ana Maria Rodriguez.

Using a fun format where each chapter reveals a surprise about a different group of animals, the author has found five science stories which often turn conventional wisdom upside down. In the first chapter, the term "bird brain" has a whole new meaning when scientists find that small size has nothing to do with power. In the following chapters readers discover whether birds have a sense of smell, how and why mama bears act during different seasons, and how pig grunts and alligator bellows may have more to say more than we originally thought. The last chapter ends with a hands-on activity for kids to try.

Although it is the animals that draw young readers in (the kunekune pigs are adorable!), the true stars of each chapter are the scientists who are discovering their secrets. The book shows details of how each group of scientists studies the problems, from counting brain cells to recording pig grunts.

The Secret of the Bird's Smart Brain...And More! is the next best thing to taking a field trip with a biologist. Check out a copy today.

Related Activity Suggestions:

Investigate Kunekune Pigs (Chapter 4)

Kunekune pigs are a rare breed from New Zealand. They are prized because of their small size and ability to use grass (to graze) as their main source of food.

Here are two kunekune piglets from the Dallas Zoo:


What do you think the little "tassels" of hair under the chin is all about?

The scientists in the book studied the grunts. You can hear the sounds the pigs make in this video.

Can you hear other sounds in the area besides the pig, like the kids and the chickens? How do you think scientists tune in to just the pig sounds when they want to study them? (See answer below.)

Don't these pigs have interesting colors?  The New Zealand Kunekune Association's page on coat color genetics has a detailed explanation of how genes interact to produce coat colors.

Investigate Bird Brains and Bird Behavior

Age Range: 8 - 11 years
Publisher: Enslow Pub Inc (August 15, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0766088529
ISBN-13: 978-0766088528

Answer:  Scientists trained the pigs they wanted to study to go one at a time into special sound-insulated huts so they could record individual pigs without a lot of extra background noise. Read chapter 4 to find out more.

Disclosure: This book was provided by the author for review purposes. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.

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Last week we had photographs for insects for A-M, now let's finish the alphabet.

Northern two-striped walkingstick

Oleander aphids

Praying mantis

Queen butterfly

Rustic sphinx moth

Sawfly larva (love that color)

Tarantula hawk

Underwing moth caterpillar

Velvet ant (wasp)

Water-strider

Xylocopa virginica - carpenter bee

Yellow jacket wasp

Zebra butterfly

That wasn't too bad. I only had to resort to scientific names once.

So, now you know your insect ABC's!