Science Sunday: How do bugs see?


As promised I’m telling you all about how bugs see.

Bugs have three different types of eyes (and I’m not going to tell you the scientific names, because I don’t feel like hunting down the textbook, I’m writing this as stuff prints for Sunday School tomorrow).


First, what are essentially light sensor eyes.  These allow insects to tell the difference between light and dark.  I think a cool way to demonstrate this would be to blindfold your child and have them try and find their way to a flashlight or a lamp in a dark room.  My kids freak out anytime I blindfold them right now, so we’re not going to try this idea.


Next type of eyes, simple eyes.  These are what we have.  Their straight forward simple, and very few insects have them (I keep having to delete when I type bug, because I found out this past week that a bug is a very particular type of insect, and the term is not interchangeable, and before you ask, no I don’t know what type yet).


Finally, is the compound eye, to me the best description of this is what you see when you look through a kaleidoscope (you know the cheaper ones you get that refract stuff, but don’t have the cool lights, or the quilter’s helper that multiplies your blocks).


My original plan had been to pick up a cheap kaleidoscope and let them look through that, and see what it is like.  Then I remembered the teacher supply store I used to work at sells these bug glasses, so we trekked down to central Austin to buy some.

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I had great plans for these glasses.  We were going to play a game of tag, and all sorts of things.  Then we ran into problems


First, they don’t stay on too well, as you can see Superman is holding on the glasses just to sit and eat.


Second, before we got home they had broken them in such a way they weren’t wearable.


And third, I don’t know if you know this, but there’s a reason we don’t have compound eyes.  We don’t function with them.  I tried them on and looked through them and within in a few minutes I was starting to get a headache.  It’s a very weird feeling.


So, if you want your kids to get a chance to see like a bug does, I’d recommend just getting the kaleidoscope and looking through that.  It gives the same feeling, without the extra expense of the glasses.


But, in the end mission was accomplished, the kids do know how a bug sees and can tell you all about how cool it is.  So, that’s good.  I’m saving the post about what we learned from observing our short-term pet crickets for when we’re out of town, and I won’t have something to post.


I can’t wait to see what else everyone is doing.  I’ve already seen two great posts that amused me greatly.

8 thoughts on “Science Sunday: How do bugs see?

  1. What a fun idea!! I wonder what my girls would think of having compound eyes? And how long it would take them to beat themselves black and blue running into things? ;o)

  2. I can't even imagine what it would be like having compound eyes…other than the headache it would be! 🙂

    Can you email me back? I have a quick question for you and can't remember your email off the top of my head.

  3. I just realized that I had no idea that there was a code for a blog hop. I wondered how everyone got all the links on their blogs. Sometimes I am so clueless. I'll remember when we link up next week. We didn't get to our science project this week because C had field day and his K presentation and there were baseball games, etc.

    Anyway, the idea of those glasses makes my head hurt. I bet the kids thought it was wild though!

  4. Hi Ticia,

    We have a very small garden pond in our backyard that a cope's gray treefrog has made its home. Its call is incredibly loud. There are new frog eggs in it just about every morning. We collected fresh eggs out about two weeks ago and have watched them grow ever since. It's pretty amazing to watch life.


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