Brownies go "buggy" in Tibbetts Lab
Thursday, March 29, 2012
A local Brownie Troop donning pipe cleaner antennae atop their heads visited Professor Liz Tibbett’s lab on Friday, March 23 to earn their Brownie Bug Patches.
“We talked about insect life history, looked at various stages of wasps, and talked about how humans and insects can interact,” said EEB graduate student Katherine Crocker, who helped arrange the tour.
The four girls of Troop #74645 are Elizabeth Amata, Bridgid Hughes, Veronica Klawender, Claire Kurpinski, second graders at Our Lady of Sorrows, Farmington, Mich.
“It was a lot of fun -- the girls were very excited to see old wasp nests and the wasps themselves,” said Crocker. “They were also shocked to see me hold a male wasp with my bare hands – male wasps can't sting. They had a lot of fun thinking about the ways that insects can help humans, the ways that humans and insects are similar, and how wasps can communicate. Being second-graders, they did a lot of squealing about things in general.”
The biggest hit was the “bug goggles” provided by EEB graduate student Mike Sheehan. These lab safety goggles have faceted lenses added, to approximate how insects see.
“Linda and I really enjoyed listening to the interaction between the girls and Katherine, especially when she was telling them about wasps,” said Christina Mui Amata, Brownie troop leader and a proud U-M alumnus. Linda Kurpinski is co-troop leader. “My daughter, Elizabeth, asked ‘how big is a wasp's brain?’ And sure enough, Katherine's labmate, Mike, had run actual calculations and could tell the girls that it is one-millionth the size of a human brain. How cool is that?!”
“There were also classic second grade questions like, ‘how big is a wasp's poop?’ Our favorite question was directed at Katherine, ‘has a wasp ever pooped on you?’ And like a true academic professional, she said ‘yes’ and elaborated, and didn't just laugh it off as a silly question," Mui Amata continued. "Very impressive."
“Thank you for giving the girls an amazing experience in the lab! They were fascinated by all the cool things they got to do with you, and we'll put up our bug drawing (thanks Prof. Tibbetts!) to remember the day. Katherine was terrific!”
Veronica Klawender gets a bugs-eye view through safety goggles.
Katherine Crocker holding a male wasp as Brigid Hughes, Claire Kurpinski, and Elizabeth Amata look on.
From left to right: Brownies from Our Lady of Sorrows Veronica Klawender, Claire Kurpinski, Elizabeth Amata and Brigid Hughes get buggy with EEB graduate student Katherine Crocker (in front).
In this article: