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Search for bugs inspires growth in students
Posted on 11/02/2018
Bug club advisor Chelsie Webb with a student

A team of researchers descends upon the PineCrest Elementary grounds after school once a week to document all the insects they can find. They have the latest in bug capturing technology, including petri dishes, butterfly nets, and a special jar that allows the researchers to suck up a specimen into a trap using a straw.

That’s right—the fourth grade Bug Club is sucking bugs through straws! Don’t worry, no bugs or humans are harmed or eaten in the process. Though students are developing an appetite for science.

“Students who may not be successful in a traditional sense can really shine in science… it ignites a spark in them to learn more,” says Chelsie Webb, a fourth-grade teacher and Bug Club sponsor. Once students are excited about something, “they’re more likely to check out a book from the library, or get together with a partner to do some searching,”

“During bug club, we start out by doing a bug safari, where the students go out onto school grounds and look for bugs,” says Webb. But the scientific inquiry doesn’t stop there—the students take time to learn about a specific species, and apply that knowledge in the classroom.

“I like science because it’s fun!” said student Ayanna Nix, who was in bug club last year. “I get to overcome my fear of spiders and other bugs.”

Once students have caught a bug, they upload and identify them on an app called “iNaturalist,” a project to document biodiversity across the globe. They are recording insects alongside professional researchers and citizen scientists.

“It gets them to start thinking beyond the classroom, to get out into their community, to look at the things around them and see, ‘How am I going to fit here? And what can I do to make this a better place?’” says Webb.