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Fruit Fly Farm

This is a good, first biology lesson for kids.  There is very little mess and everything can be thrown in the garbage when you are finished.  Scientist study fruit flies to help understand genetics.  Let your little scientist learn about the observation method and how to set up their own experiment.


Big glass jars
Very ripe banana
Paper towels
Cotton (large pieces, not cotton balls)
Clear tape
Small clear bottle (like a baby food jar)
Aluminum foil
Magnifying glass


1. Curve the piece of paper into a funnel.  The small end of the funnel needs to be about one half inch wide.  Tape the ends of the funnel together so it keeps its shape. 
2. Put half of the banana (with the peel still on), some grapes and a crumpled up paper towel into the jar.
3. Place the funnel on top of the jar with the narrow end sticking into the jar.  The funnel will let the fruit flies into the jar, but make it hard for them to get back out.
4. Place the jar in a warm, lighted area.   Just make sure that the sun is not directly on the jar.
5. When you see at least five fruit flies in the jar, take the funnel out.
6. Stuff cotton into the top of the jar.  Make sure the cotton fits tightly into the top so the flies can get in or out.
7. Keep watching the flies for about one month to see their full life cycle.

For a closer look move two of the flies into the small, clear bottle or jar.  Cover the top 2/3 of the bottle with the aluminum foil.  The fruit flies prefer the light so this will keep them in a smaller area of the bottle and easier to observe.  Use the magnifying glass to get an up close look at your little pets.

Fruit flies are attracted to the odor of the very ripe fruit.  They find the fruit and lay eggs on it.  Scientists study fruit flies to understand genetics.  Humans and other animals live for a long time.  But fruit flies only live for about one month.  This makes it easier for scientists to study generations of a species.


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