Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wonderful World of Insects, a BEEP Unit, Part 2

I taught the Insect Unit twice last week. Here are photos from the second group I worked with.

The Generic Insect is showing off its middle set of legs.

Here are True Bug, Housefly, and Butterfly. Their mouths tell who they are. From left to right a mouth that pierces and sucks, a mouth that works like a sponge, and a mouth that uncoils and siphons like a straw.

A chewing mouth that chews sideways, not up and down. Could be a Grasshopper, a Beetle, or a Dragonfly.

Deb Oexmann, Executive Director of Brukner Nature Center, talked about a Big Brown Bat, a member of the only flying mammal family. We could see that it was making sounds but we couldn't hear them because the sounds are not audible to our ears. She told us that, in winter, some bats hibernate in Ohio and some migrate farther south.

Out in the Brukner meadow, everyone had a turn  sweeping with a net for insects on the plants and  catching insects with plastic bug jars.  The day was barely seventy degrees so the insects were moving slowly.

They caught tiny black beetles with hard wing covers, as well as many species of ants  and bees.  The different species were recognizable by different color patterns and  different sizes.

They learned to identify female and male grasshoppers.  The females had ovipositors which looked like long stiff tails.  They insert these into the ground and deposit their eggs which will overwinter safe from the cold.  They found many species of grasshoppers, some small and some rather large.

Other insects they found included one butterfly and several stink bugs.  They also found flies which were species other than the common housefly.  They could tell this because the flies were small.  Once an insect is an adult its size never changes.

The group caught species from six of the seven groups of insects we discussed before going outside. The missing group was the dragonfly and damsel fly group. The group found many kinds of spiders, an insect relative, also.

Back at the Interpretative Center, the students separated into two teams and played Insect Jeopardy. The categories were Orders of Insects, Life Cycles, Insect Anatomy, This and That, and Insect Predators.

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