SYRACUSE — Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation members and volunteers helped make science a lot more fun during a three-day event at the education center on SR 13.
Syracuse Elementary School fourth-grade students attended Bug Fest 2015 Monday, Sept. 14, from 9 to 11:15 a.m. or 12:15 to 2:45 p.m. The classes were split into groups and paired against each other in five different interactive stations, each one teaching the students something new about the science they are currently studying. Pam Schumm, retired high school biology teacher, helped create the event and set up each of the fun games.
SES students hopped off the bus on the sunny morning and joined in a discussion with Schumm about watersheds, lakes and pollution. Students used newspaper and vinyl sheets to show how pollutants like oil, toxic waste, soaps, dirt and even animal feces can be harmful to natural water areas. Students simulated rainstorms and created small lakes which collected runoff from each of the various pollutants, represented by food coloring or other non-toxic food items. Schumm also walked students through a typical lake pollution situation, having students add items like plastic or Styrofoam to the once clean water.
From there, students were split into groups and sent off to the five fun stations. In “Macro-invertebrate Mayhem” students played the part of various bugs that were scavenging for food and attempting to avoid those playing the role of pollutants. During the “Six-legged Race” students grouped in three to create a six-legged organism, collecting other paper insects in the field. In the “Cocoon Challenge” students selected four representatives to become cocoons, made from rolls of toilet paper. The education center was filled with laughter as children wrapped up their classmates in toilet paper, winning prizes for best cocoon at the end.
The “Bug Juice Challenge” allowed students to enjoy a juice box, but were encouraged to sip it as fast as possible. The straw represented a proboscis, a special mouthpart on some bugs that is used for eating. The fruity nectar was a crowd favorite. Children hunted for “Camo Caterpillars” at one station, getting low to the ground and moving slow to find one of three different types of colored caterpillars, represented by uncooked rotini noodles.
After the games were over, students gathered back at the Ruddell Pavilion to discuss their results and work on a writing activity provided by the center.
North Webster Elementary School and Milford School will also participate in this event.