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Bugging Out with Bugscope

Science and Children—January/February 2024

By , ,

Looking for something REALLY exciting, creepy-crawly, accessible and pertains to phenomenon-based/ storyline-based NGSS? Bugscope is a free educational project at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. K-12 classrooms have an opportunity to view insects using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Students engage in making sense of the insect world by asking their own questions, construct explanations, engage in argument from evidence, and obtain, evaluate and communicate information. Multiple disciplinary core ideas and crosscutting concepts can be covered: information processing, human impact on Earth systems, biogeology, structure and function, systems and system models, and delimiting engineering problems. This article illuminates a sample lesson for a 3rd grade classroom, adaptable to any grade, using a storyline format. Students participate in a session where classes have mailed their own insect samples to view with an entomologist present. “Bugs” are often collected by students who get excited when they are able to view their own insects. By having an actual “bug scientist” present, students are comfortable asking the questions they actively develop while looking at the insects. This part of the Bugscope experience also provides students with one way to see what different scientists do and ask the entomologist questions about their job.

Biology Citizen Science Interdisciplinary Technology Elementary

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