Let Children Be Part of World of Insects

By Szadkowski, Joe | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), November 10, 1998 | Go to article overview

Let Children Be Part of World of Insects


Szadkowski, Joe, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Ants - forever a fascination for children - are taking center stage in some new Hollywood films. Flik, the young ant star of Disney's Pixar film "A Bug's Life," battles a band of greedy grasshoppers trying to overcome his colony.

Dreamworks' "Antz," which is set in a queen-dominated society in New York's Central Park, tells the story of Ant Z, a drone worker who leads a revolution for individuality and wins the affections of the queen's daughter.

This flurry of attention to the common ant provides a wonderful opportunity to catch children's antennae with the help of the Internet. Visit the Wonderful World of Insects for a cyberspace tour of the origin and composition of these multilegged, strange-looking Earth inhabitants.

THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF INSECTS

SITE ADDRESS: www.insect-world.com

CREATOR: The United Kingdom's Gordon Rammel is a biologist and ecologist.

CREATOR QUOTABLE: "I originally created the site for use in the schoolroom," Mr. Rammel says. "As the site has grown in use, receiving more than 250,000 visitors per month, its growth has been directed by the input of the users."

WORD FROM THE WEBWISE: Insects make up the most successful life form on the planet with well over 1 million known species - a number that the experts say may eclipse 10 million.

This site, which has won Internet awards from Discovery Channel, the Learning Kingdom and Learning in Motion, is filled with information on 32 varieties of insects that swim, crawl and fly. For beginning entomologists (bug scientists), the pages offer a detailed glossary of words to help with strange terminology.

Written for seventh-graders and those older, most areas contain numerous technical terms with in-depth information. For example, in the section called Insect Anatomy, students learn about the basic physical construction of the insect from the top of its antenna to the bottom of its tarsus, or foot.

Another interesting feature is the Name Game - or Welcome to the Wonders of Insect Taxonomy and Classification. This area introduces users to Carolus Linnaeus, the 18th-century scientist who suggested that an international system for naming creatures be created. Linnaeus devised the binomial system, which gives insects both a common and "taxonomic" name.

For instance, the common name, grasshopper, has the taxonomic name of orthoptera - of which there are more than 20,000 types. …

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