Remix, Remake, Curate

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

Make Cycle 2 Wrap Up: Bug Body Hack

The posts just keep coming in! We hope to see them continue, but since it has been three weeks since we began our Bug Body Hack, we want to take a moments to celebrate the awesome creations our participants have made!  We encourage you to keep making, hacking, sharing, connecting, commenting, and reflecting, and we encourage you to continue learning or thinking about something that you haven’t noticed or considered before– something about poetry, insects, making, the natural world, or learning in a diverse, open online community.

We started this make cycle by asking participants to use this handy chart to create a bug of their own using any found materials that they wanted to use. After viewing a couple of videos, we began by hosting an incredible Google Hangout with Dr. Colin Brammer, an entomologist with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.  In case you missed it, you can view the hangout here:

The hangout inspired us to get going and create some very interesting arthropods.  Although we focused on insects and spiders, some participants created and wrote about centipedes that played basketball or scorpions that lost legs!  Although they were all amazing, a few highlights from our Google+ Community can be seen below:

        • First Graders Jack, Caleb, and Alyssa posted about their arthropods on our G+ Community. They used a tree map to help them get their stories going but were excited to take the story wherever they wanted it to take them and boy did it take them places!
        • Kalyssa Ortiz created a centipede named Charlie and wrote a book about Charlie and his friend Tabitha.
        • Mydiso AskewMoore created a video of her pop-up book about her hacked bug Jugnu the firefly.
        • Our friends at the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) annual meeting in Montreal last week made bugs from leaves gathered from the sidewalks around the conference center and remixed the cycles with some dialogic poems and some awesome rhythm circles. See more in this Storify summary.


We we rolling on the floor laughing at our bug personification ideas during our Twitter chat on October 15th.  You can read some of our poetic contributions by checking out our Storify summary of the chat. Feel free to “steal” some of these ideas for a story of your own!

As a reminder, here are some places to share and connect:

  • Join our Google+ Community, Remix, Remake, Curate. Post your thoughts, questions, ideas, and especially your young people’s work here. Hack an arthropod body and take it to the next level with circuitry or a motor, record student poetry or stories, share their experiments, let them see what other kids are doing, and share feedback to their work.
  • On Twitter, we encourage you to follow and use the #imakesci hashtag. Keep using #inatsci if you’re continuing to hack bug bodies or #icitsci if you’re continuing to visit your porch light and make observations and/or poetry.
  • 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 Remix, Remake, Curate.

For More Info

Coming up

You are more than welcome to continue hacking or creating bug bodies, writing stories or poetry about your bugs, or even remixing Make Cycle 1 and 2 and sharing them in our G+ community at any time!  Feel free to jump in on this cycle if you are new or just keep going with it.  Be on the lookout for new programming coming in April 2016 during!  We hope you’ll explore DNA Life-Making Code along with HTML coding and web making with us then.

Finally, thanks for participating in our Bugfest make cycles!  We are thrilled with the response and the content you have created throughout both cycles and the way several participants are mixing them together. We are more motivated than ever to continue to find ways to explore the intersections between science, writing, and art thanks to your creative contributions!

Make Cycle 2 Facilitators,

Kaytee Smith, Colin Brammer, Rebecca Bulvanoski, Jha’Mai Milindez, and Debra Pagona


Make Cycle 2: Bug Body Hack

Welcome to Make Cycle 2: Natural Science

Welcome to Week 2 of our second year of Remix, Remake, Curate!  For the next two weeks, we will explore the natural world of bugs.  We will focus on two major classifications of bugs that most people commonly know: insects and spiders!  It can be surprising to discover how little we know about them when we live with them almost every day. You will get a chance to remix the bugs that you saw in Bugfest 1 or explore your world to find new ones to make your own Bug Body Hack.    

As with the last 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 an investigation of two types of arthropods: insects and arachnids (spiders).

Learn from the experts. Observe the insects and arachnids around you. If you can’t find any insects or if you just want to learn more, watch the video below of Dan Babbitt, manager of the Smithsonian’s Insect Zoo.  Babbitt shows why the name of the zoo is a little imprecise. The Insect Zoo is home to all five major groups of arthropods—insects, arachnids, crustaceans, millipedes, and centipedes—all of which Babbitt defines. You might consider using one of the bugs you see in the video for Part 1 of this make cycle.  

Here are some of the materials you might use to make your bugs. We will add leaves and twigs next week - to help our bugs blend in - when it is a little less soggy outside.

Here are some of the materials you might use to make your bugs. We will add leaves and twigs next week – to help our bugs blend in – when it is a little less soggy outside.

Part 1: Bug Body Hack or Remix your bug. Create your own bug using found items from cotton ball to leaves or some of the items you see in the images below. You can remix your bug any way you like, but keep in mind what makes a bug an “insect” versus an “arachnid.” Click here for a helpful Bug Body Hack Fact Chart.  All five classifications of insects are listed on the chart, but we will focus only on insects and arachnids.  As always, you can create your bug however you would like.  Even in the arachnid world, they have remixed themselves and although they are usually spiders, arachnids also include ticks and mites! Show us what creative bugs you have hacked by sharing a picture of your bug through a tweet or post on our Google+ community.

If you would like to amp up your bug, you could add a motor from a toothbrush to make your bug move, add paper circuitry lights or solar lights, or share some more ideas by posting them on our Google+ community.

Part 2: Personify your Bug. Consider the personality that emerged from your bug.  Consider how your bug may be different from you and similar to you. Jha’Mai from the Poetry Project also explains this part in the video below. You might find it useful to use the Bug Body Hack Fact Chart from Part 1 to help you follow along with the information on the body parts.

Click here for a template of a chart for higher levels that you might use to help you document and create a story/poem to personify your bug. For a simpler template using a thinking map, click here.  Feel free to do these on chart paper or make your own if you are inspired to do so!  For some ways to level up this lesson, you can take your bug on an adventure or write a story or poem from a different perspective (the tree, the chair, the predator, etc.).  You can share your story through images, video, create a stop motion, or use any digital tool of your choice.  For example, you could make a vine, make an interactive image using thinglink, or try out wevideo, just to name a few.

Part 3: Personify your bug with poetry and Twitter. Still need some inspiration? Watch this video from Nat Geo Kids for a quick reminder of the some of the differences and similarities between bugs and humans. You will get a chance to personify your bug with poetry by joining our Twitter chat on Thursday, October 15th using the hashtag #imakesci. Be on the lookout for more information on this live interactive experience in our Google+ community.


Materials and Inspirations

  • Bug Body Hack Chart
  • Bug Story/Poem Template Chart OR Bug Story/Poem Template Thinking map
  • Camera or phone
  • Computer with internet connectivity
  • Variety of found materials. Some ideas might include: cotton balls, pipe cleaners, leaves, empty water or soda bottles, plastic forks, twigs, felt, craft sticks, paper towel and toilet paper rolls, strips of paper, bottle caps, paint, wood scraps, tissue paper… and glue
  • Writing materials – paper, pencil or pen, etc.
  • Kidzone Spider Facts

Places to Share and Live Events

These are some of the handy links and 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

Want to know more about the difference is between spiders and insects? Join us on October 7th at 8:30 am EST as we are hosting a Google Hangout to explore the diverse world of arthropods with Dr. Colin Brammer. Dr. Brammer is an entomologist and Co-Coordinator of Natural World Investigate Lab at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences.

We would also like to invite you to join us for a Twitter Chat on Thursday, October 15th at 12:30 am EST where we will personify our bugs using poetry.

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 delight in using what you have learned about arthropods to create your own unique bug, and we hope you enjoy creating a story or poem to share your creation with others.


Make Cycle 2 Facilitators,

Kaytee Smith, Colin Brammer, Rebecca Bulvanoski, Jha’Mai Milindez, and Debra Pagona