Kids Listen Activity Podcast, Episode 2: Cool Facts About Animals Presents Tarantula Hawk Wasps with Dr. Justin Schmidt!

In this episode, we hear from Cool Facts About Animals, podcast by and for kids.  This episode features an interview with Dr. Justin Schmidt, who invented the Schmidt Sting Pain Index.  Do you kow how he invented that index? He got stung. A lot. And then told people about how much each one hurt on a scale from 1 to 4. It’s a really fun episode, filled with lots of animal facts from a super cool scientist.  Listen to it here.
After you listen, do the activities, including inventing your own index, drawing your defensive superpowers, doing in-depth bug observation, and lots more. 
 

Kids Listen Activity Podcast

Cool Facts About Animals Activity

 

Make Your Own Scale

 

Dr. Schmidt made up his own scale for figuring out how painful insects’ stings were. You can make your own scale too! 

 

What does your scale look like? A thermometer? A line? Whatever you choose is fine.  

 

Try this scale at home: how salty (or sweet) is it? 

 

Some ideas for salty – olives, pickles, water, salt, a potato chip or pretzel. 

Some ideas for sweet – sugar, honey, different fruits, different vegetables.  

See what you have in your house – and what your grownup will let you eat. 

 

As you do your tasting, line the results up on the scale, with the saltiest (or sweetest) thing being the highest on the scale. 

 

Make your own pain scale index

 

Make your own pain scale index – what’s the most painful thing you’ve ever felt? What about the least painful? Where does tickling fall in the scale? Where does a bee sting? What about a shot from the doctor? Stubbing your toe? 

 

Make your own bug scale

 

Make your own bug scale. What do you want to compare? Wing size? Antenna size? Color?  Smell? You choose. 

 

What are some other scales that you can invent? 

 

Write About It!

 

Here’s a description from Dr. Schmidt about what a bullet ant sting felt like. “Explosive and long-lasting.  You sound insane as you scream. Hot oil from the deep fryer spilling over your entire hand.”

 

Write a description of the most painful thing you’ve ever felt. Try to be descriptive, like Dr. Schmidt. 

Make a Hypothesis 

 

Dr. Schmidt had a “hypothesis” about why some insects are social and set out to prove it.  He thought that there were benefits of being social; but the disadvantage was that it made them more likely to be eaten. His hypothesis was that the sting was developed to make the animal less likely to be eaten—the more painful the sting, the less likely it was to be eaten.  Then he had to come up with a test to prove the hypothesis – but how do you measure pain? That’s how the scale was invented. 

 

Come up with your own “hypothesis.”  What’s something you know a bit about, and are interested in discovering the answer to?  How will you prove it?  Can you prove it? (Or disprove it?)

 

Draw a Picture

Draw your superpower 


Dr. Schmidt mentioned that tarantula hawk wasps are aposematic – they have warning colors to deter predators (make them go away). They also are stinky in addition to their sting. If you had special abilities to deter predators, what would you want? Draw a picture of yourself with your super-deterrent power.

 

Make your own stinging insect

 

Draw a picture of stinging insect—imaginary or real—then rate it on the pain scale. Does it hurt a lot like a bullet ant? Or just a little? You can choose! Feel free to make up facial expressions or speech bubbles for your insect too! 

 

Go for an Adventure

 

Go for a bug hunt! What did you find? Try to find out what the insect is called by checking a reference book or checking online with a parent or guardian. 

 

Save the World!

 

What will you do to protect animals? Be specific, and try to stick to it!

 

We have lots of kid challenges on past episodes, like turning down the heat or using a reusable straw or water bottle.  You can find out feed here. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/cool-facts-about-animals/id1334467437

 

Share what you made with us! Tweet us at @coolanimalspod and use the hashtag #KidsListenActivityPodcast, or email us at coolanimalspod@gmail.com

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