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Rockwood Valley Middle Teachers Team Up to Provide Students Fun, Educational Opportunity to Wrap Up Bug Unit

Rockwood Valley Middle Teachers Team Up to Provide Students Fun, Educational Opportunity to Wrap Up Bug Unit

In Kassie Specht and Megan Rammacher’s sixth-grade language arts classes at Rockwood Valley Middle, students completed an end-of-the-year project by researching eating insects and creating arguments. Last week, they wrapped up their debates and had the opportunity to try edible bugs.

The unit covers argumentative and nonfiction reading and writing standards. Students read a Scholastic Scope article on eating bugs and discussed the pros and cons of using bugs as a food source in the United States. Then, they worked with a partner to pick the side they felt most comfortable arguing to research further.

“We were pro,” said sixth-grader Mason Fister. “The title for our presentation was ‘Bugs Are Better than You Think.’ Our three reasons were that bugs are better for the environment, full of nutrients and can support a better population. Plus, they’re healthy for you, as they have vitamins and minerals.”

Rockwood Valley Middle student Mason F. smiles for a picture in the hallway.

Fister said the project was one he will never forget.

“It was fun because I like to be creative,” he said. “I enjoyed putting the slides together, and it was nice to work with a partner. You can collaborate ideas and come up with things you may not think of by yourself.”

When it came time to try the dried bugs and bug protein bars that Specht and Rammacher provided, Fister and his classmates did not back down.

“I was nervous to try them, but they tasted like chips,” Fister said. “They’re dry and not as bad as you think.”

The taste-testing of the nonliving insects is a tradition that has been at Rockwood Valley for 15 years.

“I love this unit because I see students excited to learn about their world,” Specht shared. “At first, they are a bit ‘grossed out’ by the idea of eating insects, but they attack this unit with an open mind. It is the unit that students from the past ask us if we are still doing.”

To ensure safety of the students, Specht and Rammacher sent home permission slips to parents early in the unit so they could explore the resources and ask questions.

“It is fun to hear students talking in the hallways about what they are learning, coming in before school to work together on their presentations and parents emailing with compliments about their excited kids,” she said.

Specht shared the importance for students at this age to learn about argumentative writing and presentations.

“My hope every year is that my students leave with the skills they need to be successful long after they leave sixth grade,” she said. “Being able to form an opinion, research both sides of the topic and work together to share your viewpoint is essential. We also talked a lot about presentation design and presentation skills. I want students to feel confident when asked to present in their future. It could be the one thing that lands them their dream job or helps them get into their favorite college.”

Two Rockwood Valley Middle students smile for a picture after giving a presentation.
A Rockwood Valley Middle student poses for a picture as he is eating a dried insect.
Rockwood Valley Middle teacher Megan Rammacher shows a dried insects on a student's plate.
A Rockwood Valley Middle student holds up a dried insect that she is about to sample.
A group of Rockwood Valley Middle students hold up dried bugs that they are about to sample.
Two Rockwood Valley Middle teachers sample dried bugs.

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