Rider University STEM Teacher Academy – Outline of afternoon sessions

CSI: Roadkill

Day 1 will start with the placement of a pig carcass in a container designed to limit access to arthropod decomposers. Students will make note of when the 1st blow fly appears.
  • Students checked the carcass daily for 2 weeks, sampling for different insects.
  • Students examined changes in size of fly larvae over time and the succession of arthropod species as decomposition of the pig carcass progressed. These are both key indicators used in dating time of death for CSI investigators.
  • Students analyzed the maggot mass in terms of temperature differences to determine effects on instar development.
  • Students practiced techniques to estimate the size of the maggot mass, using a simulated carcass and maggot mass.
  • Students may dye individual maggots in order to follow their behavior within the mass and discuss possible adaptive strategies.

Applied Entomology

Each afternoon session of the Institute will feature an introduction to a new order of insects in class.
  • Students will have field time to add to their insect collection daily, using the Bioquip kit (supplied).
  • Students will use mosquito cages to safely study the development of these insects from egg to adult and may do studies on the effect of temperature on larval growth
  • Students will use paired pitfall traps to investigate beetle feeding behavior on fresh vs. 3 day-old mouse carcasses.

Students learned about the preparation of vertebrate and invertebrate scientific specimens for teaching and display purposes.

Each student prepared a grass frog skeleton, using dermestid beetles to clean the freeze-dried specimen, and then placed the articulated bones in a Riker mount for use with their future students

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    Students constructed a Riker mount of a cicada, that they will be able to use with their future students

Math connections

Chi-square on maggot mass calculations
Analysis of instar size distribution over time