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For Some Philadelphia Students, A Hands-On Nature Experience

(Credit: Michelle Durham)

(Credit: Michelle Durham)

Michelle Durham Michelle Durham
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By Michelle Durham

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A group of Philadelphia middle school students spent part of the day today at the Academy of Natural Sciences, getting up close with some bugs from a different part of the world.

There were squeals of delight and squeals of fear as students got a chance to hold a Madagascar hissing cockroach in the palm of their hand and let it crawl around a little.

roach hand med  durham For Some Philadelphia Students, A Hands On Nature Experience

(Credit: Michelle Durham)

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Mikal, in the 6th grade at the Birney Preparatory Academy charter school, said he enjoyed the experience.

Johari Malik, who teaches 6th grade math at Birney Prep, says these hands-on experiences show kids how science and math are linked and the different careers they can choose.

But she’s not a big fan of bugs.

“I’m keeping my distance, but they are really excited,” she said of her students, “and a lot of students who I wouldn’t have expected to actually want to hold the bugs are doing it.  It’s just great to see, especially the ladies who get a little freaked out, who are actually putting their hands out for a giant cockroach.”

The giant Madagascar cockroach has a purpose in the jungle: they clean up the environment by eating the food debris that other animals leave in their wake.

At the Academy of Natural Sciences, however, they have a different diet: apples, leaves, and dog food!

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