Source: WILD TV: "The Animals We Live With"
Funding for the VITAL/Ready to Teach collection was secured through the United States Department of Education under the Ready to Teach Program.
This WILD TV segment shows program host, Wali Collins and entomologist Mark Hostetler conducting an experiment on moths’ attraction to light. Moths use the moon to navigate at night, the reason they are attracted to outdoor artificial white lights. Mark and Wali go to a dark spot at night and turn on a white light. Moths and other insects soon arrive and land on Wali near the light with one moth even beginning to lay eggs on Wali. At the end of the segment we also learn frogs and lizards are attracted to light; they know there will be insects around to eat.
Animal science, geography
The following Frame, Focus and Follow-up suggestions are best suited for elementary or middle school students using this video in an English language arts or science lesson. Be sure to modify the questions to meet your students' instructional needs.
What is Frame, Focus and Follow-up?
Frame (ELA) What is a main idea statement? How do details from a story support the main idea statement?
Focus (ELA) Determine the main idea of the video segment you are about to see. Keep in mind that details throughout the segment will support the main idea.
Follow Up (ELA) Discuss your ideas for the main idea statement. Compare classmates’ ideas for the main idea. How do you decide which is the best choice? What makes a good main idea statement?
Frame (SCI) Do you have a light outside the door at your house that you turn on at night sometimes? What happens sometimes when you turn on a light outside at night?
Focus (SCI) Learn about why moths are attracted to light at night and to what kind of light they are attracted.
Follow Up (SCI) Explain why moths are attracted to light and to what kind of light they are attracted. Then discuss this experiment. How could you make this into an experiment that tested something else about moths and lights?
WALI: Okay, now, Mark—where we going?
MARK HOSTETLER: I’m taking you someplace where we’re gonna try this really neat experiment.
WALI: It’s pretty dark out here.
MARK : OK. That’s the point; we need to be somewhere that’s really dark where there’s lots of insects flying around and that’s where we’re going.
WALI: Oh, okay. Oh, we’re going to a convenience store.
MARK: Yep, here we are.
WALI: Nachos! Oh, can we get a squishie?
MARK: Let’s go check it out.
WALI: Whoa! Baby!
MARK: Look at this wall!
WALI: Oh, baby! There must be like hundreds of these different bugs.
MARK: Insects, moths, everything.
WALI: Oh my goodness, oh, how rude of me. Hey ya’ll. This is Mark Hostetler, he’s a zoologist and entomologist - is someone who works with insects. And he’s got me here, at a convenience store, in this outfit, all for the sake of science, you people.
MARK: You see that, that’s a katydid. This little green guy, that’s attracted to the light. He calls out, you can sometimes hear it out in the forest, calling to the females.
WALI: What does it say, “Baby, I’m a katydid”?
MARK: No, he does this: Dit dit dit dit- really fast, really loud.
WALI: Thank you, Mark, I appreciate that. Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!
MARK: Look at that thing. Ah, that’s big.
WALI: It looks like a stick.
MARK: Yeah, this is a big walking stick. You gotta be careful with these things.
WALI: That’s what they call it, a walking stick?
MARK: Yeah, and these guys can spray you. You gotta be careful with these things so don’t smell it.
WALI: Yeah, don’t smell it. Ok, Great.
MARK: So aren’t you curious why would they be coming here?
WALI: Yeah, I was going to ask, why, why are they here on this wall? I can think of other locations.
MARK: Well, that’s why you’re dressed up for. We’ll show you. We’re going to do the experiment.
WALI: Ahhh, here comes the experiment. So, I guess that means we’re going to go to this area. So here we go, here we go.
MARK: Now what is out here in the sky before electric lights were invented that is big and bright and can be used by insects?
WALI: The moon.
MARK: The moon.
MARK: And guess what you get to be?
WALI: I get to moon somebody.
MARK: No. For one brief instance, it’s going to be pitch black out here and you’re going to become the moon.
MARK: And we’re going to see what happens.
WALI: This is going to be interesting.
MARK: You ready? Okay. Kill the lights!
MARK: Okay Wali, go ahead.
MARK: Open up the coat.
WALI: Oh, look at this?
MARK: Look at all these moths here. You’ve got all types, colors and shapes. Hey, look at that! This luna moth is actually laying eggs on you!
WALI: Oh my goodness!
MARK: Look at that! You’re nice and warm and white and it’s laying eggs on you.
WALI: All right, look Mark, answer this question real quickly. What’s going on here? Why are they all over me and not over you?
MARK: Well, these poor moths are confused. You know, for millions of years they’ve been using the moon as a source of navigation. So any light sources out there they think is the moon. So here you are, nice and white with this bright light on ya and they say, ‘Okay, I’m trying to fly in a straight line.’ So they start coming towards you, as they get closer and closer, they start circling around you and pretty soon they get tighter and tighter and tighter, just like a moth around a candle, and bop, they hit you right in the chest.
WALI: Can we stop this now?
WALI: I’ll tell ya, that was a very hip experiment. I, I kind a, that was very interesting. I got some on the back of my neck, but other than that, it was pretty cool.
WALI: All right, now here’s a question for ya, Mr. Entomologist.
WALI: I pull into the Golden Arches, you know, McDonald’s. I don’t see any moths around there. What’s up with that?
MARK: Oh yeah, insects - they can’t see yellow or red light. So here are the big golden arches, all yellow, they don’t see a thing. Just white light.
WALI: Wow, ok, cool. So, other insects, anything else attracted to light?
MARK: Yeah, think about it - all those insects, it’s a smorgasbord for frogs, toads, lizards.
WALI: So they know where to hang out.
WALI: It’s like a buffet. Oh cool man. And speaking of buffets, guess what?
WALI: We’re at a convenience store.
WALI: Nachos! Let’s get some nachos man….and listen, if you want some of that icy stuff, you know, that stuff you drink, if you drink it real fast you get a headache…you should get some water, a little more healthy….
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