Outreach center using insects to educate

By Yvonne Condes

Arizona Daily Wildcat

If beetles are seen on campus tomorrow, participants shouldn't be looking for Paul McCartney.

Robin Roche, coordinator for the Center of Insect Science Education Outreach, said that the exhibit for the Academic Outreach Poster Display will use live insects for their project.

"We will let the kids hold and touch them," Roche said.

Tomorrow's poster display on the Mall tomorrow will feature the educational outreach programs done by UA faculty for grades kindergarten through 12. There are 25 posters and exhibits, and awards will be given to the two best entries, said Josephine Ong, coordinator of the event.

Roche will bring darkling beetles, commonly known as "stinkbugs," grasshoppers and caterpillars for the exhibit, which contains a set of lessons for kindergarten through third grade funded by the Institute of Health Science Education partnership award. It contains live insects and is used to teach science, biology and language arts to students, she said.

One lesson focuses on ants and how they overcome obstacles. Experiments are done by putting barriers in front of the ants and watching what they do.

The children read fiction and nonfiction stories about ants and listen to songs, Roche said. The students can then read other stories about overcoming obstacles and learn how to overcome them in their own lives.

"We found that it works super well with elementary school kids," Roche said.

The exhibit for the National Center for Neurogenic Communication Disorder, which is audio and visual, is designed to prevent injuries, said Jody Wood research specialist for NCNCD.

It will feature three 911 calls involving car and bicycle accidents. The exhibit illustrates the importance of wearing a helmet while riding a bicycle, the hazards of drinking and driving and information about head injuries.

"Head injuries are the number one killer of children 15 to 19," said Wood.

Wood said they will give away a bicycle during the festivities.

The booth for the office of Academic Preparation for Excellence (APEX) tells people about what the university does to help children prepare for college. It also informs people of the opportunity to volunteer as mentors or speakers for the program, said Emily Morrison assistant director of the early outreach program.

Exhibits will be judged by their content, quality, creativity, interaction and the evidence of outreach, Ong said. The winners will receive $300 and a plaque. The event is sponsored by Provost Paul Sypherd.

The tent will be in front of the Psychology Building from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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