Jun. 03, 2013

Worth a Thousand Words

by The Bug Chicks

Click to enlarge images
Earlier this year, we wrote a blog post about our video work with the students at the Renaissance School in Portland, Oregon. When we were invited to teach there again this semester, we decided on a hands-on project that would allow each student to express his or her own imagination and individuality.
To start, we brought several arthropod photographs by Deverie Rudd. The students each picked their favorite. The goal? To recreate the selected image by building and photographing handmade models of the insect depicted. To do this, the kids first had to research their animal. What is it? How does it catch it’s food? Where does it live? These simple questions (plus many more) led the students to information about the species' behavior, morphology, and habitat. Using clay and miscellaneous scrap materials, the students created detailed insect models that included everything from spiracles made with beads to impeccably cut latex tergites. 
To complete their photographic recreation, the kids also had to learn about camera mechanics. Turns out, they were naturals at finding the correct shutter speed for the chosen aperture. Using light tricks and camera angles, they figured out how to replicate the mood of their chosen photographs. The results were imaginative interpretations of the original image.
Once the models were created and the photos taken, the students wrote a creative piece about their animal. We’ve shared one of them below:
I once knew a wolf spider.
He wished he could fly like a glider.
I said we could go to the department store,
If he did all his chores.
So he washed all the dishes,
And feed all the little fishes.
Then we got into my car.
The drive wasn’t very far.
We got out and searched through Macy’s,
And into a fashion place called Stacy’s.
Then we went to a shop called Mr. Snyder’s,
And we found our hang glider!
Then we tested it back home,
But he ran into a garden gnome.
It was my gnome named Fred,
But now because of him, he is dead.
I sent him away from the house that day.
But with his glider so he could play.
—Sam, age 10
About The Bug Chicks

Kristie Reddick and Jessica Honaker are The Bug Chicks. They each have Masters Degrees in Entomology and love to teach people about insects and spiders.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

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