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GBW is Abuzz about Insects

Ladybugs, dragonflies, bumblebees and other assorted insects chirped and flitted about Greenbriar West Elementary, last week. But they weren't the pesky kind; these critters were cute and cuddly because they were really second-graders dressed up as bugs.

The Oct. 31 event culminated the students' month-long study unit on insects, during which the children did all sorts of buggy activities that turned their learning into a fun-filled adventure. For example, teacher Suzie Hosey's students displayed their knowledge during a game of "Insect Jeopardy."

Just ask Kyle Rhodes, 7, what he knows about insects and he's happy to oblige. "Insects have three body parts — the thorax, head and abdomen," he said. "I like crickets best because I like it when the males chirp."

Dressed as a yellow-and-black bumblebee, Amanda Park, also 7, says the chirping is caused when insects rub their wings together. If she could be any insect, she said, she'd like to be a bee because "I'd get to sting when there's danger."

Nadia Mehra, 7, learned that a cricket has two compound eyes — with lots of lenses — plus three simple eyes with one lens each. But she likes the ladybug best because "it doesn't bite." Colin Malo, 7, said female insects lay eggs out of ovipositors. His favorite is the praying mantis because "I like the way they can be in different colors and they can jump very far."

Also in bumblebee costume was Alec Demeri, 7, complete with yellow-and-black-striped antennae. "Insects like to eat plants," he said. "If I could be any insect, I'd be a waterbug because they can go underwater and above water."

Lachara Shelton, 7, learned that insects have a thorax. "It's their middle part," she said. And if she could, she'd be a ladybug, "because they fly."

Besides dressing up last Thursday, Hosey's class also made insect cookies — with all the body parts. Following a recipe for "Peanut Butter Crickets," the children carefully measured and stirred the ingredients for these no-bake goodies. They used peanut butter, honey and Chinese noodles for the bug bodies, decorating them with chocolate chips for eyes, pretzels for antennae and sliced almonds for wings.

Meanwhile, teacher Gayle Peterson had her students draw crickets on the computer and write clues about a mystery bug to see if the other students could guess what bug it was. The children also wrote about things that "bug" them.

Connor Golden wrote, "It really bugs me when I am playing PlayStation and my baby brother jumps on me — because he always turns [my game] off." Wrote Mary Evers: "It really bugs me when my brother tickles me because I do not like to be tickled — and it annoys me."

Peterson also had the children research their favorite insects and make 3-D examples out of construction paper, glitter, straws, pipe cleaners, etc. Mason Grisso, 7 1/2, thought it was neat that they got to make their own "pretend insects;" he made a praying mantis.

"We also made spiders, but we're telling everybody [who sees them] that they're not insects — they're bugs," he explained. "Insects have six legs, and spiders have eight. And every insect has antennae." Mason likes how the praying mantis blends in — "and when a cricket comes, they just grab it."

Carson Youman, 7 1/2, created a water strider — which can walk on water. He said it would be fun to be a praying mantis and "wait on a leaf for a cricket and then use my front legs to trap it."

Allie Lerner, 7 1/2, was surprised to learn that crickets hear out of their knees. "They don't have ears on their head, so they need to hear out of somewhere," she explained patiently.

She wrote about the firefly, noting that "when the female tries to pick somebody to be its husband, she looks in the sky at its [light] pattern." Allie's favorite insect, though, is the lady bug because "I like to pick them up, and I think they're pretty."

Courtney Moeser, also 7 1/2, wrote about the butterfly. "It starts as a caterpillar and then turns into a butterfly," she said. "Monarch butterflies fly from Canada to Mexico. They drink pollen from the flowers." So would she be a butterfly, if given the chance? You bet, said Courtney: "I think it would be fun to fly."