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Intent on Entomology

Even as a child, Darwin was an enthusiastic collector of specimens. Although he studied to be a clergyman, “he was more interested in collecting bugs than saving souls.” His close attention to detail led him to question the similarities and variations he observed in his beetle collection. It has been said that his collection “bested the lot of them.” Ask students to find out what is involved in starting an insect collection. What materials are needed for mounting and preserving the specimens? Suggest that students call a natural history museum and interview an entomologist about how specimens are collected and identified.


After students collect their information, ask them to make a poster highlighting the steps and materials needed to start and maintain a collection. Some students may want to create a bug library on a Web site for your school. They can scan in pictures, create an identification key, explain their collecting techniques, and link to other helpful resources.

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