Investigations with Venus’ Fly Traps


Charles Darwin called the Venus’ Fly Trap ‘one of the most wonderful plants in the world’. In this activity, perfect for STEM science clubs, students investigate what causes a Venus’ Fly Trap to shut its trap. These experiments are related to a series of investigations that Darwin carried out as part of his work on evolution and adaptation.

A basic activity for science clubs or lessons is outlined in the student notes. Students may then choose to carry out additional investigations, either based on those carried out by Darwin, or using their own ideas.
Learning outcomes include conducting fair tests, collecting reliable data, and designing students’ own investigations to extend understanding.

Venus’ Fly Traps originate from a very specific location in North and South Carolina. They are well adapted for survival in an apparently hostile environment, with nitrogen-poor soil that contains very little nitrogen, and with regular wild fires. However, as a result of human action, the wild fires have substantially reduced and the bogs drained of much of their water. In addition, Venus’ Fly Traps are targeted by poachers. As a result of both poaching and habitat loss, the plants are now becoming an endangered species in the wild.

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