Try This! Hula-Hoop Observation

Be backyard scientist. Use a Hula-Hoop to isolate an area to observe. And if you don't have a hoop, make one! Scroll down for step-by-step instructions.

How representative is a hoop-size backyard sample of the whole ecosystem?

You may question this observation, but it’s what scientists have to do all the time— whether they’re sampling the deep ocean, bringing back moon rocks, or looking at blood through a microscope. Choose a spot for your hoop that seems to have a lot happening inside, but be aware that there may be even more (or less!) happening at other places in the ecosystem. You can observe what’s in your hoop just once, or repeat at different times of the day— or year. Take notes and photograph or sketch what passes through.

It takes about an hour to make a hoop. Times will vary when it comes to mastering the art of using one!

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Hold it around your waist. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart or slightly wider, with one foot ahead of the other. As fun as it may seem, there's no need to go wild swinging your hips! Just shift your weight from one foot to the other, practicing a while to figure out how fast and hard you need to go to keep the hoop up.


You may find you don’t need as fast an action to keep this hoop circling your waist and that you’ll be able to do more tricks.


A heavier hoop—and a larger hoop—takes longer to make a revolution around your waist, which makes them easier to “hoop” than a typical toy-store Hula-Hoop.

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