Welcome to Finishing Strong
Today we’re highlighting some of our favorite posts related to middle & high school science. Although they cover different topics, one thing they have in common is a focus on interactive, experiential learning. What a great way to get kids excited about science!
Do you have any posts about homeschooling older students (any subjects)? Add them below.
Hands-on Science Fun
Chemistry: Lesson 1 Matter from All Things Beautiful
Project Based Learning: Microbes – Fungus from Angelicscalliwag
Entomology- The Science of Insects from Blog She Wrote
The Ins & Outs of Science Fairs from Eva Varga
Homeschool Middle School Adventures from Homeschool Creations
Nature Study: Fossil Walk and Follow Up Fun from Our Journey Westward
How to Approach Science in High School from Sweetness & Light
Next week we’re going to feature some of our favorite middle school posts.
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Labeling Your Insect Collection
As you might have predicted, there are rules on how to label an insect collection for display. Here are a few key points:
- Number Labels- Each insect in the collection gets a number. If it is a 4-H collection, a numbered insect must have been collected in the current fair year (not before the previous year’s fair). You can have those insects in a collection, but they cannot be numbered in that year’s collection. These labels are the last ones on the pin with the insect.
- Collection Labels- The first label on the insect pin (underneath the insect) is the collection information. Where the insect was collected and when along with the name of the collector.
- Identification Label- For 2nd year collections and up, you must include another label which goes between the number and collection information. It will have the family name of the insect as well as the genus and species. Correctly identifying the insect to the species is important for point value.
- Order Labels- These are larger labels and they are pinned inside the box. When you organize your collection do so by order.
- Common Name Labels- Required after the first year, these labels tell the common name of the insect and usually include a family name (so not just “fly” but “crane fly”)
Keeping a Collection Record
Along with all the labeling in the box, you must turn in a collection record. Since the collections are additive over the years, these records can be many pages long. Below are listed the information you need to keep:
- Insect Number- comes after you’ve labeled your insects
- Common Name- 2nd year and beyond
- Genus Species
- Locality- location of collection
- Date Collected
- Place Collected- what habitat
A first year collection only needs to be identified to the order. After that, more work is required!
Other Tips for Insect Displays
In addition to the labeling, here are a few more helpful hints:
- Group orders of insects together in the collection and place the order label nearby
- Numbers within an order should be chronological
- Place the vials toward the bottom of your collection- So if they come loose, they don’t wreck other insects in the box!
- Keep a collection record as you go- This is a time saver when you are preparing your collection for evaluation!
For more information on making displays, check out How to Make an Awesome Insect Collection from Purdue which follows 4-H guidelines for entomology projects.
This has been an exciting project area for us this year. We’ve already started next year’s collection. As of publishing time for this post, the collection pictured here has won a blue ribbon and a project excellence for first year collections and is headed for the NY State Fair next month.
Enjoy the collecting!
Other bloggers in the iHN are sharing their series this week for 2014’s summer Hopscotch. Don’t forget to hop over!
Once you have insects stored, you are ready to pin! Today I’ll be sharing how to properly pin an insect.
Pinning the First Pin through the Body
It’s probably no surprise that there are rules that go with pinning insects. How to Make an Awesome Insect Collection from Purdue University quite nicely outlines the information on how to pin. I’ll try to pick out some highlights for you here.
- Each insect that is big enough to be pinned through the body without breaking will get a pin directly through the body- usually to the right side and between the first and second appendages on the thorax. The pinning location does vary by insect order though so you need to read the rules!
- The size of the pin (0, 1, 2, 3) is dependent on the size of the insect you are pinning. Smaller insects use smaller pins and vice versa.
- You want to be sure that the insect on the pin is not tilted- either side to side or up and down. It needs to be straight on the pin.
- If your insect does not have wings or it is not typical to spread the wings of this particular insect, then you can pin the legs and antennae into position while the insect dries. That’s when quilting pins are useful.
Spreading Insect Wings
An insect with its wings spread out can look fantastic in a collection. It’s a careful job to be sure! You can check out this advice on spreading wings, but here are a few more tips.
- Place the winged pinned insect on the spreading board in the valley. You may have to adjust the width of the board to accommodate large insects.
- Use a size zero pin to gently pull the wing along the surface of the spreading board. When you get it to where you want it, use a slice of glassine envelope with the quilting pins to hold it into place. You want to be very purposeful with this motion.
- Once you have the first pin in place, then you can add more as you see below.
- As the insect dries, you can leave the coverings in place to protect the wing- especially those wings with scales as in butterflies and moths.
Once your insects are pinned, you need to let them dry for a few weeks before placing them into a case. You want to be sure they dry to avoid odors and you have to keep the whole thing dry to make sure nothing like mold grows on your specimens or that it doesn’t attract parasites which can eat the insect from the inside out. Yes, that is as gross as it sounds.
The last post in this series is all about the finished display of insects and preparing it with official entomological guidelines.
Other bloggers are sharing their iHN Hopscotch Series this week. Be sure to visit them!