September 30, 2009
Third graders learn about bugs, or more accurately, they become entomologists learning about insects. Outdoor explorations in the garden, photo opportunities and research sources give students an in depth understanding of this group of animals and the life cycles they exemplify. One amazing opportunity offered by the University of Illinois is an interactive session with scientists who have loaded student samples onto an electron microscope for viewing by a class. I was asked to "drive" the microscope which involves selecting between the ladybug, pill bug, fly and ant sent by the class and then zooming in to see a compound eye, the hair-like "setae", the grasping sections of the mouth, etc.
Student questions and sample images from one class are available at http://bugscope.beckman.illinois.edu/members/2009-093#top.