Targeted age group: Grades K-5
Although much research on animal behavior is non-invasive – for example, observations of what the animal is doing – there are occasions when researchers need to get hands-on with their study animals. In these instances, darting with a blow-gun is one way to safely administer an anesthesic drug. In this simple activity, kids have the opportunity to hone their blow-gun skills. Drinking straws and Q-tips dipped in washable paint serve as the blow-gun and dart. The kids “load” their blow-gun and take aim at a poster-size drawing of a baboon. It isn’t as easy as it looks, but can be a lot of fun – especially at outdoor events!
Baboon target poster
In our experience, medium-sized drinking straws trimmed to approximately 5 inches work better than ones that are extra narrow or left untrimmed. For an inexpensive printing option, try printing the baboon target poster (see link above) as an engineering print (or “blueprint”) at Office Depot or Staples. Prices vary regionally, but can be as low as $4 for a 24″ x 36″ poster.
Layne loads a “dart gun” at Stony Brook University’s 2017 CommUniversity Day