BIISC offers classroom activities which can be done in coordination with a presentation or during a follow-up period.
Crazy Ants: targeted at grades 3-7. This is a hands-on activity designed to help students understand the scientific concepts of collection and identification. Students are given an introduction to little fire ants, then posed with the problem of reports of stinging ants on campus.
In groups of 4, they then work to collect “ants” (laminated cards) that have been hidden prior to the activity. The students are taught to carefully label the “ants” when collecting, to take field notes, and to work as a team to make sure all information is recorded. They are then guided through the identification activity, where they determine the species of ants found and calculate the percentage of each species present. This activity can be used as a springboard for multiple topics: the role of sampling and collection in science class, creating representations of data in math class, writing a technical report for ELA.*For this activity, we would need access to an outdoor area for the students to “collect”. Time – 60 minutes.
Little Fire Ant Mapping (citizen science!): targeted at grades 4-12. Students can participate in the tracking and mapping of little fire ant infestations across the Big Island by surveying for ants in the neighborhoods and reporting results.
Ambrosia Beetles & Rapid Ohi’a Death (citizen science!): targeted at grades 3-7. Ambrosia beetles are common decomposers in our forests. They play an important role in releasing nutrients of dead and dying trees back into the ecosystem. However, some ambrosia beetles in Hawai’i have also become inadvertent players in the spread of the fungus that causes the deadly tree disease ROD. Students will make their own beetle traps from recycled materials, to participate in the capture, tracking and mapping of ambrosia beetles in their neighborhoods, giving scientists some insight into where various species can be found across the island and how that might impact the spread of ROD.
Bird Beak Adaptation Activity/Lab (elementary-middle school): This activity is based on the UH-Hilo developed PRISM module for 7th grade life science (but we have suggestions for modifying to lower grades). We have a kit with the majority of the materials you would need to complete this activity with your classroom, including modified data sheets and laminated bird ID cards. You just need to buy the edible portions! Contact us to borrow the kit and discuss how you can modify it to your grade level.
Carolina Ecokits Environmental Science Invasive Species Kit (high school): We have the complete kit available for borrowing. Please contact us to arrange for a time.
Google Cardboard VR viewers We have two Google Cardboard viewers which can be used with any smartphone for a virtual reality experience in nature right in your classroom! For more info on Google Cardboard VR, click here.