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Museum School Starts Second Year

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In our first class session this year, adult GED students who are studying for their high school equivalency were introduced to arthropods, insect diversity, and the stereoscopic microscope.  For most it was their first science class ever and their first time in using a microscope.  Their assignment was to draw the legs of 4 different insects based only on observation and then were asked to determine their function based on their anatomical structure. Students then had to categorize their specimens based on whether they were crawlers, swimmers, diggers, and jumpers.   When they completed their drawings students were provided with a visual guide which they could check to see how close they came with their conclusions.

In preparation for their next class on scientific names and classification students have to do a little homework.   Every few weeks there will be a “Mystery Creature” like the one below. Students are to pretend that this is a new arthropod species and there task is to name it based on its physical characteristics.  They will then be asked to do some research to see if they can determine its true name and identity.    How well do you know your arthropods? 

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The session ended with several students signing up for our new Biodiversity Internship program where students will get to work one on one with several department mentors while learning insect digitization, mollusk curation, research, and cataloging.
The program is based on previous research studies that suggest student perceptions of science frequently change when they are given the opportunity to do science that is adapted and made accessible to them.

A special thanks to the Virginia M. Ullman Foundation and to all the teacher volunteers who make this program possible!

More about the program at www.arium-museumschool.com

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