Somerset Elementary School students will be featured on KARE-11The visits from the Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches have become an annual event of mythic proportions for first-graders at the Somerset Elementary School.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
The visits from the Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches have become an annual event of mythic proportions for first-graders at the Somerset Elementary School.
For one of the first grade sections, the visit led to guests that will be remembered even more fondly than the cockroaches, tarantulas and hermit crabs that are brought to the school each spring by the Bell Museum.
First grade teacher Stacey Helders-Pevan contacted Kim Insley at KARE-11 TV in the Twin Cities a year ago to see if the Bell Museum visit would be worthy of coverage in the “What’s Cool In Your School?” segment of the KARE-11 Sunrise morning program.
Helders-Pevan was told the show was backed up for the year, but to try again this year. Helders-Pevan made contact with Insley again in November and this time her idea got approval to be included.
Insley said the segment is scheduled to air on Thursday, May 24, at approximately 6:10 a.m. It will also be placed on the KARE-11 website and it may also appear on the 4 p.m. news show that day.
Helders-Pevan said she didn’t tell the students that Insley and photojournalist Tom Cornell were going to visit until the morning of their visit on May 11. She didn’t want the kids getting nervous over the visit.
Erin Rupp from the Bell Museum had already been in all the first grade classrooms two weeks earlier, delivering the cockroaches to be studied by students in each classroom. Rupp made the second of her three visits on May 11 and the kids had prepared questions for her from their two weeks of studying the cockroaches.
Helders-Pevan said the only prepping she did with the students was to warn them that Cornell would be taking pictures with a large camera and that they shouldn’t be afraid about his presence.
Rupp brought several visitors with her that grabbed the students’ attention. She brought several varieties of cockroaches from all over the world, hermit crabs and tarantulas. At the end of the presentation, Rupp told the students that the largest of the cockroaches could fly and asked if they’d like to see a demonstration. Cornell set up to get a shot of the cockroach flying. The students squealed with shock and laughter when the cockroach did fly, landing directly on Cornell’s leg.
This is the fourth year of visits to the school by Bell Museum personnel. The museum is a service of the University of Minnesota. In the third visit on May 25, Rupp will bring colonies of honey bees to the school. The students will see a working colony encased in glass, so they can see all the worker bees in action and how the different types of bees interact with each other. Students will get a chance to spin honey out of a hive.
The first-graders used to take field trips to the Bell Museum as part of the insect unit. When the availability of in-school visits was offered, Somerset quickly signed up. Helders-Pevan said the visits are much more productive, because the students pay closer attention and aren’t distracted like they would be on a field trip.
“They get the hands-on experience. They get responses to their questions from an expert,” Helders-Pevan said. “It’s a much more valuable experience for the same price.”