Thursday, September 15, 2011

Bugscope: Look Closer!

How would you like access to an industry standard, $600,000 Scanning Electron Microscope?

"The Bugscope project run out of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign allows students to examine their own bugs using a high power environmental scanning electron microscope that can magnify samples up 20,000 times. Students are able to operate the microscope remotely via the internet. It is suited to students from kindergarten, to high scholl and all the way up to college and allows kids to look at real life bug samples.

Scanning Electron Photograph
In doing these examinations, the students are also able to gain a better understanding of insect anatomy, gaining valuable insights into how bugs eat, breath and move.

The project is simple and free to access, with applications taking less then 10 minutes. Each classroom proposes its own experiments using their own samples. Once approved, the students have remote access to over $600,00 worth of high tech equipment as well as scientists and microscopists who can assist during examinations proving valuable insights about the instrument and samples.

Another benefit of the project is it help to promote science and helps prepare students to become scientists through real interaction .

To date the Bugscope project has been used by over 580 classrooms in 415 schools all over America, with students acquiring over 120,000 images of bugs.

A live Bugscope session typically runs about an hour and is scheduled to allow the teacher to participate during his/her class period. Teachers can choose to login from a single machine, connected to a projector, or allow students to login individually or in groups on their own computers. The live interface allows all participants to see the latest images coming from the microscope, ask questions via the built-in chat, and have the opportunity to control the microscope.

The live session experience is flexible and exciting: Parents can join their student's session and kids home sick can even join their classrooms online!"

Please contact S. Merth if you would like help in running this session.