Be A "Peder-Reader" - A Discovery Activity

Lilla E. Green Hartigan Community Arts Specialty School

8 West Root Street

Chicago IL 60609

(773) 535-1460


To learn about the millipede's physical structure and characteristics by observing its behavior in given activities. Pupils will hypothesize whether they think the millipede will make an interesting pet for them or not.

Materials Needed:

two(at least one per eight pupils) giant millipedes; one worksheet per group; primary balance scale; masking tape; metric ruler or tape measure; mirrors; paper plates; dried fruit bits (e.g., raisins); leaf litter; medicine droppers with water; box of washers; magnifying glasses; Instant Hand Sanitizer; assorted materials for millipedes to crawl upon, such as a styrofoam square, a straw fan, a wicker plate and a piece of nylon screening; Kool-ade packets; one K-W-L chart per group; rubber gloves (optional)

Strategy: (Activities are five minutes each)

#1. Choose a "Peder-Leader" for each group of "Peder-Readers," who will gently handle the critter and lead the group in filling out the worksheets. Use gloves if you like. One member of the group will record group responses on their K-W-L chart - what you already know about millipedes and what you want to know about them. As you make your rounds to each station, the recorder will fill out the section of the chart labeled - "What I Learned……"

#2. Discuss with your group how long it takes your critter to uncurl and start to "explore." Using a magnifying glass, "read" its body and name your critter. Can you estimate how many legs and segments it has? Discuss with one another whether it sees, smells, tastes, hears and feels. Do this before going to Station #1.

#3. Go to Station #1.

Name your millipede and "read" the millipede's moves. You're now going to observe its manner of getting around. Does it "glide", "sway", "stretch", or "crawl"? Brainstorm with your "Peder-Peers" and see how many verbs you come up with to describe how it moves. Get the styrofoam square, the nylon screening, the straw fan and the wicker plate. Place your critter on it. Can it defy gravity? Turn the critter upside down and note what happens. Imagine among yourselves what Sir Isaac Newton would say about millipede's laws of motion.

#4. Go to Station #2.

Place four to five raisins, some leaf litter, and some dry Kool-ade at various places on a paper plate and allow your millipede to crawl at will. Can you determine if it has a preference? If so, tell how. Have a group member take the dropper and drop some water on the millipede. Is there a noticeable reaction? Using another paper plate, make a very shallow "puddle" with water from the medicine dropper and place the critter in the puddle. Is there any noticeable reaction? Have the recorder write your findings in the K-W-L chart.

#5. Go to Station #3

Gently place your critter in the primary balance scale and estimate how many washers it weighs. Now weigh it. Who came the closest to their estimation? Now, estimate its length and its width (around the middle segment). Take the tape measure, and measure its length and width in centimeters. (Talk softly to your millipede as you handle it). Record your findings in the K-W-L chart.

#6. Go to Station #4

Take two mirrors and tape them firmly at right angles so that they stand up on the table. Place your little critter squarely in the center of the mirrors. Does something interesting happen? Have your recorder tell how many images you see and describe the shape of your millipede. Is it symmetrical? Explain. Discuss among yourselves whether you think it can "see" its image in the mirror.

Performance Assessment:

Each "Peder-Recorder" will present their group's K-W-L chart orally to the entire class. At the end of their presentation, the recorder will state how many in their group concluded whether or not the millipede will make an "interesting" pet.


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