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Gettin' Buggy

Memorizing the head, thorax and abdomen was the easy part for Elizabeth Hughes, a second-grader at Cherry Run Elementary School in Burke. She was dressed as a butterfly for their "Bug Day." The wings were the tough part, which she painted herself.

"It took about two days," Elizabeth said. "We had to let all the stuff dry."

For Chauvien Buihuyah, also a butterfly, her outfit only took five minutes. Her butterfly species was easy, too.

"I'm just a regular one," Chauvien said.

All the second-graders at Cherry Run had bug outfits for their final lesson on bugs. They spent all morning on Friday, Oct. 24, doing bug activities dressed like their favorite bug. The teachers took advantage of the opportunity as well. Sarah Miller was a ladybug and fellow second-grade teacher Sara Kane was a purple butterfly.

"We've been studying crickets," said Miller. "That's one of our main science units. Each grade studies a different animal. I think they'll remember the three body parts of the cricket for the rest of their lives."

In first grade, students learn about worms. Second grade is crickets, third is butterflies and fourth is ants.

"We had our culminating test yesterday," Miller said, on Friday. "This was a way to make it so they'll really remember it."

The three second-grade classes rotated rooms, doing bug-related activities such as stained-glass butterflies, insect bingo, and drawing their favorite insects. Kane, an alumna of Robinson Secondary School, is in her first year teaching.

"I've always favored an activities-based approach," she said. "They'll look back and remember this about second grade."

Matthew Thompson, 7, already connected something in real life to his costume, which was a dragonfly.

"I see them at ponds when I go fishing," he said. "They get on my pole."

Mary Jenkins' daughter Madison was in the class, and Jenkins was volunteering. She was a teacher in Prince William County in the past.

"Raise your hand if you have a favorite bug," she said to the class.

Several hands-on activities are planned for Cherry Run students in the coming weeks. The upper grades will dress as Colonial-era figures for history. On Veterans Day, all the classes will be doing patriotic things, and a Halloween musical program is planned.

"The strings students will be playing all sorts of scary music for the other kids coming in," said assistant principal Nick Rousos.