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Classify Insects: A Science Explorations Activity ARCHIVED


3–5, 6–8, 9–12

Activity Type

  • Activities and Games

Dr. Randall “Toby” Schuh never met a bug he didn’t like. Today, Toby works for the American Museum of Natural History as an entomologist, a professional scientist who studies insects and travels the world searching for rare six-legged creatures to classify.

Insects are a dazzling example of the diversity of life on Earth. Scientists have described about one million species of insects, but there are literally millions more out there. The estimated number of individual insects is mind boggling. If you divided up the world’s total insect population, there would be 1.5 billion bugs per person! (Feeling itchy?)

Toby’s specialty is “true bugs,” and he is in charge of a project called the Planetary Biodiversity Inventory or PBI. Its goals are to investigate the biodiversity of true bugs, to collect and describe new species, to learn about their host plants, and to begin to understand evolutionary relationships among bug species.

The activities:

  • Classify This!—Students will become members of the fieldwork team and classify the animals they find.
  • “Name-a-Bug” Challenge—Once students understand what makes a true bug, they can use their knowledge to create a common name for a true bug.
  • Investigate
—Use articles and photos to look closely at insects.

This is part of the Science Explorations student activity.

My Scholastic

Susan Cheyney

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