Indiana

Midsummer's Night Science Lesson

Turpin believes that fireflies are a great educational tool and can provide a science lesson to children and adults right in their very own backyard or in a park nearby. He says, "If you have a penlight, you can sometimes lure a male big dipper by responding to his flash within the two seconds that he is hovering near you. Another way one can learn about fireflies is to catch them and observe their flash patterns in a jar.


Count the number of flashes, how long they last and the time between the flashes. Do this for at least five minutes and make sure to record what you observe. Before you conduct your studies, be sure to cut some holes in the lid of the jar you are using so that the fireflies you collect will have air to breathe. After noting what you observed, release your fireflies. Wait some time before collecting more specimens and then conduct your observations again. If you note a difference in flash patterns, you have caught a different species.