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.
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!