There are over 50 different ways to set up the Smithsonian Eco Dome Habitat, so children can create the design that they feel will have the best feng shui for their buggy friends. The instructions on the back for the poster only include five steps, but each one is extensively detailed. Step one indicates how to set up the entire habitat so that bugs can roam around at their leisure. Smithsonian’s Eco Dome Habitat even includes a set of stickers to label each chamber of the live bug habitat.
Over the next three steps, children will learn the proper way to hatch and care for the included Triops. Being the only aquatic creatures in the live insect habitat means the triops won’t be in direct contact with the others, but children can certainly use their intuitive bug observation skills to see if there is any kind of interaction through the walls of the aquarium.
Finishing off the instructions are proper use of the bug collection tool, which is a fairly brilliant combination of a tube and a giant syringe. Kids can simply put the flexible plastic tube by a bug and pull the plunger to suck him up into the collector. There are instructions and cautions to ensure that children are humane to the bugs. Just so kids don’t get too carried away with their newfound bug catching and raising skills, the instructions specifically identify some plants and bugs that children are better off avoiding. Nobody wants a child to come home full of wasp stings and poison ivy rashes.
On the front of the poster are extensive details about the likely inhabitants of the Eco Dome Habitat, which makes it an excellent choice of wall decor for a classroom. There is also a chart of bugs and insects that children are likely to encounter as they search for residents of their bug building.
The Smithsonian Eco Dome Habitat has the following features:
Ages 8 and Up