A Fly on the Wall Project was a collaborative project between 11th grade biology and English where students collected a diverse array of arthropods from their respective homes and then in English class wrote two creative pieces that incorporated facts that they had learned about their insect through their research in biology class. At the same time, students learned to identify, categorize and describe insects and arachnids and then worked to take impactful photographs of their insect that captured the uniqueness and beauty of these creatures. Ultimately, the photography and writing were displayed at Friday Night Liberty, a local arts event in the community of Point Loma.
We wanted to push the idea of putting together a collaborative/integrated project where BOTH of our subjects were able to hit a depth of content that felt uncompromised and valuable for both of our classes. I was interested to get back to basics, to remember that feeling of being drawn to insects and spiders and fascinated by insect collections and their mechanical physiology. I also wanted students to experience a “collective work,” where they collected arthropods individually, that contributed to a larger perspective of the diversity of arthropods found in our community. Pam and I were both happy with how persistently and passionately our students worked to capture something impactful and beautiful about their arthropods through their photography and their writing—and then how we were able to display their writing in an easily accessible way.
I used to be really afraid of bugs but once I started learning about them I became not so afraid of them. I liked that the whole project gave all students a way to express their interest. It seemed like it was really for us – not to just exhibit but to explore things we were interested in. We caught bugs that interested us and then used our own imaginations to see things from their perspective.
I was able to take some of the things I learned about arthropods in biology and then look at an actual arthropod and visually and tactiley discover it myself. I was also able to share some of my experience with photography, which I enjoyed.