Lindsay Kaplan, Riva Cohen, Julie Gelfond, Andrew Hirt, Linda Kogan, Ann Schneiderman
“What’s Bugging You?: An Interactive Insect Unit” is Kaplan and her colleagues’ winning innovative program idea. The comprehensive, six-week unit is designed to introduce kindergarteners to the world of insects through engaging and interactive lessons. Students will study ants, bees, butterflies, ladybugs, and lice – learning their life cycles, their importance on Earth, and the need to preserve their environments. Through songs and gestures, students will first learn the general anatomy of insects. They will then learn about ants and how they form colonies, followed by bees and their engineering skills. Students will even get a visit from a guest bee keeper, learning about specific roles and responsibilities of the bees. They also will create a bee hive from toilet paper tubes. Different shapes of pasta will be used to create models of the butterfly life cycle, and students will learn the value of ladybugs to the environment. Even lice will get an up-close and personal encounter by the students when viewed under a microscope. Kaplan and her teammates hope the songs, dances, role-playing, literature, guest speakers, field trips, and model making will encourage learning and comprehension of the value of insects.