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Eeek, there are spiders everywhere this week. Here at Growing With Science, at Wild About Ants, and on the Space Shuttle Endeavor. What? Is that why it didn't launch?

Okay, we're just having a bit of fun. It turns out that spiders are going into space with the next launch (which will probably be after May 10, 2011) as part of a science project. Two spiders of the species Nephila clavipes will travel to the International Space Station where they will reside for 45 days. Video cameras will record their activity and allow children here on earth to learn more about spider biology in weightlessness.

The Spiders in Space mission is hosted at BioEd Online, where you can find updates and download a module guide (requires registration). The guide gives information about the spiders and the project. The idea is to set up a similar spider habitat here on earth to allow comparisons to spider behavior in space.

You have to find your own spider to put into it.

Note:  If you are not familiar with spiders, it might be a good idea to consult an expert as to what kinds of poisonous spiders might live in your region and what they look like, before you collect any. Here's a photograph of a common type of orb weaver, which is the kind the video recommends.

Related posts about spiders (for even more, click on the spider category in the column to the right):

Baby Spiders

Make a spider web (craft)

If you are interested in spiders, there are some more fun children's books on our growing list of spider books at Science Books for Kids.

spider-books-for-kids

Mother spiders and their offspring seem to be a theme lately. Let's find out more about them.

Right about the same time I found this mother cellar spider carrying her babies last week,

cellar spider with babies

I also found this mother black widow guarding her egg sacs.

black widow with egg sacs

black widow with egg sacs

Female spiders often lay eggs in sacs, and sometimes guard them afterward. Black widows are also known to create multiple egg sacs, often three.

Some spiders, like wolf spiders, carry their babies on their backs for a while. The female cellar spider above was the first I had seen carrying her offspring in her legs.

To learn more, there are a number of great picture books about spiders. The first two are about baby spiders in particular.

Disclosures: I am an affiliate for Amazon. If you click through the linked titles or ads and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. Proceeds will be used to maintain this self-hosted blog.

 

Sneaky, Spinning Baby Spiders by Sandra Markle

As you can tell from the cover, this book has fantastic close up photographs. It covers spiders from throughout the world. Look for my in depth review at Bouncing Baby Spiders

Up, Up and Away by Ginger Wadsworth and Patricia J. Wynne (Illustrator)

This newly released book has a totally different feel, although it covers a similar topic. Be aware, if your children are sensitive, that the trailer shows an illustration of one spider eating another and a near miss by a predator.

Nic Bishop Spiders by Nic Bishop

Time For Kids: Spiders! by Editors of Time for Kids

Are You a Spider? by Tudor Humphries

These books are always wonderful, and I love how she brings the child into the story by comparing what humans do to what spiders do.

Spinning Spiders (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science 2) by Melvin Berger and S. D. Schindler

Spectacular Spiders by Linda Glaser

The Magic School Bus Spins A Web: A Book About Spiders  by Joanna Cole, Jim Durk (Illustrator), Bruce Degan (Illustrator)

The Magic School Bus books walk the line between fiction and nonfiction, but are always well researched and informative.

Spiders by Gail Gibbons

Gail Gibbons books are always well done.

For older kids, try:
Uncover a Tarantula: Take a Three-Dimensional Look Inside a Tarantula! by David George Gordon

For more information, see my review Tarantulas Inside and Out.