By Michelle Durham


By Michelle Durham


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)


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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