A gardener in England discovered that his Pitcher Plant managed to trap and eat a bird. The Pitcher Plant normally survives on insects, but some of the larger plants have been known to feast on lizards, mice, and frogs. This is only the second time that anyone has seen a bird captured by a Pitcher Plant, so having a picture is an amazing stroke of luck! A recently discovered similar plant in the Philippines eats mice as well (cool picture). Take a look at some of the world's largest and strangest plants, including the "Corpse Flower," which uses a pungent dead body stench to attract insects.
Make Your Own Weird and Wonderful Nature Notebook:
Find some more information about plants your kids would be interested in and make some Notebooking pages with prompts for where the plants like to grow (geographic location, country, continent, sun/shade), how the plant attracts insects or animals (color, mimicry, scent), how the plant digests or utilizes the insects it catches, identifying characteristics, similar species, genus, how big do they get, etc. To give them a concept of the actual size, find some every day objects that are the same size (a picture of your child at an age that they were that height, or Mom or Dad is a fun comparison).
Make sure you place a box or two on each page for your child to draw the plants, what they eat, and help them find and print pictures from the internet. Have one page dedicated to a large sketch of the plant so the kids can label each part (leaves, roots, stamen). For kids that aren't confident enough to draw the plant yet, allow them to trace it, it's a great way to hone their fine motor skills and ability to draw. They can even draw a few of the insects it feeds on buzzing around!
Making your own textbooks allow children to learn what information is important, how to find it, and find creative ways to communicate information. Ask them to flip through some of their favorite books and discuss what they love about them so they can apply some of the same design ideas to their book! If they love the finished product you can even scan the pages or take pictures of them and use a digital photo printing site to order a "real book!"
Try to find some cool trivia to add. If the plant grows in the Philippines, find some interesting facts about that country to add. If the plant eats mosquitos, find out how much blood a mosquito can drink and how many offspring it produces in it's lifetime to add interesting information to your pages.
After you take a look at more information
Once your kids know what kind of information scientists use to describe and understand plants, have them invent their own! Some fun ideas:
- How would this plant be different if it grew in space? Underwater?
- Draw the seeds of the plant and how they are spread (wind, birds eating them).
- What would a giant version of the plant eat?
- How big would the plant have to be to eat a bear (great for math skills)?
- Where would this plant grow and why?
- What colors are on the plant and why?
Add your own fun ideas in the comments!