Remix, Remake, Curate

Learning with the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Tar River Writing Project, & The Poetry Project

Make Cycle 1: A Bug’s Night with Porch Lights and Citizen Science

Welcome to Make Cycle 1: Citizen Science

Welcome to Week 1 of our second year of Remix, Remake, Curate. For the next two weeks, we’ll be getting up close and personal with some of the inhabitants of the natural world who come out at night. We’ll be making field journals, poems, sketches, and more involving the creatures we observe at night, so turn on your porch light, and let’s get started!    

With each Make Cycle in this MOOC, you are welcome to join in where you can, tackle the makes that appeal to you, get out of your comfort zone and try something new, or show off skills you already have.

Make with me

During this make cycle, we suggest the following activities to guide a study of natural night life:

Get to know the nightlife around you. Observe insects around a light at night. Turn porch light on and wait 30 minutes and visit the light to see what’s there.  No porch light?  No problem. Visit a building light or street light with a wall nearby.

Document what you see with words and images. Describe what you see during your observation. You might use this field journal template to help guide what you write, or you might branch out and chart observations in another way that makes sense to you. Need some help identifying what you see? Click here for a guide to insects that are attracted to light.

Use your phone or camera to photograph or videotape the insects you see during your observation. You might choose to do a real time video, a time lapse sequence of photos, a slow motion video, or a slide show of photos. Think about your most intesting observations and consider tweeting about them during our Twitter chat on Wednesday, September 23rd at 11:45am by following and tweeting with the hashtag #imakesci.

Here’s what Chris Goforth, head of citizen science at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science, saw when she set up a blacklight sheet to watch insects:

Make a visual remix. Now that you’ve seen some night time creatures through the lens of a camera, create your own visual interpretation of what strikes you about those images. You might choose to make a watercolor painting or sketch of one insect, or you might consider exploring scale and representing how one insect looks in comparison to another. You might even choose to draw or paint what the insect sees instead of how you see the insect. Show us what you come up with by sharing a picture of your image through a tweet or a post to our Google + community.

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Remix Perspective Through Poetry. Consider what stood out to you in your observations, photographs, video, or drawings, and use this to compose a poem that has two voices. Double-voice poems are meant to give two perspectives, and those voice really come to life through performance. The idea is to consider what those two voices have in common and what separates them. What two voices will you choose? Your own and an insect’s? A moth and a flame? A spider and a fly? What did you see that deserves a voice? What is the relationship between these two voices?

Here’s an example and some suggestions to get you started.

These poems are meant to be performed and shared, so you might find a partner to perform your poem with you and give life to your words. We’d love for you to post your performances on our Google + community! 

Want to collaborate with a class or group? Check out Katherine’s videos about how to make a collaborative bug poem.  Here’s her guide for performing your bug poetry. 

Materials and Inspirations

  • Field journal template
  • Camera or phone
  • Watercolor paints
  • Computer with Internet connectivity
  • Writing materials- paper, pen, etc
  • Paul Fleischman’s Joyful Noise, a book of poems for two voices

 Places to Share and Live Events

Just a reminder, here are the handy links to places we’ve been using to share and connect.

  • In Google Plus (G+), we hope you have all joined our Remix, Remake, Curate G+ community
  • On Twitter, we encourage you to follow and use the #imakesci.
  • If you have a blog, you can make and create in your own digital space and share to the community on twitter with the #imakesci hashtag or the G+ community

On Thursday, September 24th at 11:45am EST, join us on Twitter for a chat about night time observations, images, and more!

We will be hosting a Google Hangout to show off some of our nighttime insect discoveries and do a little writing on Thursday, October 1st at 9am EST. 

New to all this tech? Check out Getting Started with Google Hangouts in the Guide to Social Tools section of the TRWPConnect blog.

For More Info


We hope you enjoy observing, writing, drawing, painting, performing, or doing your own activity involving the world of night time insects.


Make Cycle 1 Facilitators,

Chris Goforth, Ashley Hutchinson, Katherine Malet, Daniel Niece, and Michelle Sims

Author: gothutched

I'm a llama-enthusiast who teaches AP Language and Composition, AP Seminar, and journalism in eastern North Carolina.

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