The Lazarus Experiment

Our family has fallen in love with Apologia’s elementary science lineby Jeannie Fulbright!  We spent a delightful time last year lolly-gagging through Botany.  This summer we began Zoology I:  Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day.  I can’t believe how much I am learning from these elementary textbooks!  The world we live in is brimming with fascinating creatures.

Taking the advice of some homeschooling moms on Apologia’s email list, I decided we’d skip over several chapters on birds to the section on insects (insects, apparently, are more numerous in summertime, while birds are around in winter too).  Today we tried the Lazarus Experiment from Chapter Nine.

A fly had landed in a large jar of water and was swimming around (practicing for Fly Olympics maybe?).  This was our chance to “find” an insect for this experiment without having to hunt for it!  We (not me, ewww!) held Mr. Fly down under the water.  He didn’t want to go at first and fought us.  Dad had to take over and get aggressive with the little bugger.  Then the fly decided it was pretty cool under the surface.  He actually walked around on the spoon — under the water!!  I had no idea their little feet were that stick-able!  We had to hold him under the water for about 5 minutes before it seemed he had drowned.

Waterlogged and lifeless, we gently lifted Mr. Fly out of the water 

Waterlogged and Lifeless -- a soggy sight!

and covered him in salt. 

The boys blew the salt off, and we left him alone. 


Within 10 minutes, he was dusting salt off and flapping his wings!  I tried to take video of him coming back to life, but the quality of the movie wasn’t worth posting (I was too close, I think).

The fly seemed to rise from the dead before our very eyes!  (Until my husband squashed him, that is!  There’s no coming back for him now.)

This is how Jeannie Fulbright explains what happened:

“Why didn’t the insect drown in the water?  Well, insects are able to close the spiracles in their abdomen when faced with heavy rains or other unfortunate meetings with water.  When they come out of the water and dry off enough, they can reopen their spiracles and breathe again!  The reason you used salt in the experiment is that it speeds up the absorption of water from the insect, causing it to start moving more quickly.”

Are you as amazed as I am by this experiment?  Try it yourself!  Better yet, try Zoology I for yourself.  I bet you’ll learn as much as I have been.

Where would I be without homeschooling?  Bored and dumb, I guess 😉


3 thoughts on “The Lazarus Experiment

  1. I just located your newly named blog! Very nice name and it suits you well.
    What a cool experiment! I never knew flies could ‘come back to life’ like that.
    Kinda cool, but also lame because I like dead flies the best.
    Love ya sis!

  2. Yeah, your brother feels the same way about flies. I thought about setting this fly free outside, after we had tortured him already and everything. But Ron smashed him. I’m sure the fly was too dazed and confused to see it coming!

    Thanks for stopping by my new blog! The boys were so excited you looked at their videos on youtube 🙂 and Micah was NOT excited about the comment you left on Facebook that he looks like me. He prefers to hear people say he looks like his dad!

    Keep having fun! We catch up w/ Asher’s blog every few days. Love the photos and videos, makes it seem more real 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s