Insect Discovery is a University of Arizona outreach program primarily for elementary school students. The program is designed to stimulate students’ scientific curiosity through hands-on activities using live and preserved insects. Children are natural scientists, and early engagement in science learning is important both to stimulate interest in a scientific career and to promote general scientific literacy. In Arizona, insects are major component of the 2nd grade science curriculum. Our program provides a variety of resources, including classroom visits, workshops and lesson plans, to help teachers make the most of their students’ fascination with the amazing and diverse world of insects.
During the fall semester each year (mid-August to mid-December), the Insect Discovery Program offers classroom visits to K-12 schools in the Tucson metropolitan area. Each visit lasts between 45 to 60 minutes and includes three activities. Teachers can choose from three of the five activities from the list below, or contact us to discuss possible new activities tailored for particular teaching needs.
- Describe and review the special characteristics of insect. Meet and handle Bob the hissing cockroach and his relations and compare them to Christine the giant millipede.
- Explore the amazing diversity of insects using specimens from the University of Arizona Insect Museum collection.
- Learn about the scientific method by conducting a feeding behavior experiment with live crickets.
- Strengthen observation skills and appreciate the unique qualities of individual insects by creating a scientific drawing of a living ladybug (lady beetle, actually).
- Topics include: What is an insect?; Insect Diversity; Experiment with Insects; Ladybug Drawing; and Lost Ant Game
Classroom Visit Policies
- All classroom visits are free of charge.
- The visit involves hand-on activities designed for a regular classroom of no more than 30 students. Therefore, please do NOT combine classes for the visit.
- To provide equal education opportunities, we prefer to visit all classes of a particular grade at each school. Please try to coordinate with other teachers in scheduling visits.
- If a teacher is absent the day of the visit, please re-schedule.
- Sorry, we do not provide visits for pre-schools, daycare centers or after-school programs.
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