It's a bug-eat-bug world in our new interactive game
We've been quiet lately, but it's not for lack of something exciting to share with you.
We have a new product... and it's a departure from our insect traps and attractants. It's a way you can play with bugs and get your hands dirty -- virtually speaking -- no matter what season it is or what the weather is like outside.
At RESCUE!, we know that not all bugs are "icky", or pestiferous, or dangerous. Some insects can actually be our allies. This is one of the inherent messages of BugfarmTM, our new interactive DVD-ROM game for ages 7+. It's designed to be a true-to-life simulation of both real vegetable gardening and the use of beneficial insects.
BugfarmTM teaches children about science and nature in a format that sustains their attention. The game is a great introduction to entomology, and our hope is that it could also spark interest in growing a real vegetable garden.
In the game, players are able to:
- Choose vegetable crops to plant in their virtual garden
- Raise their own army of beneficial Spined Soldier Bugs in a virtual bug farm
- Deploy Soldier Bugs to protect their garden
- Play the role of a Soldier Bug in a 3D garden environment and hunt down pests
- Maintain their plants with nutrients, water and fertilizer to help them grow
- Learn about the effects of both pest damage and pesticide use on plants
- Earn blue ribbons for their prizewinning vegetables
Experiments and informative videos are included on the DVD to round out the educational experience.
BugfarmTM features groundbreaking graphics and animation. You can see each vein on a tomato plant leaf, each stripe on a cabbage looper, and each eye on a potato. The bugs can walk on the underside of a leaf, just like they do in real life. You can watch a demo here on our website.
BugfarmTM is available online from us for only $24.95, and provides many opportunities for different levels of games and different players. In fact, a single copy of BugfarmTM allows an entire classroom of students to each play their own game and compete against each other.
You can go to www.bugfarm.com to learn more about this new educational game. Hmmm... Christmas is coming... perhaps a child you know would like to receive this as a gift? (Hint! Hint!)
Boys love bugs
Two days ago, we hosted a local Boy Scout troop at our offices. To receive their science badges, they had to visit a lab and meet a scientist. Our R&D Department was more than happy to oblige with a tour through our insect research lab.
R&D Director Dr. Qing-He Zhang talks about how we re-create scents to which the insects are attracted:
The kids take turns looking through the microscope at an insect antenna hooked up to our Electro-Antenna Detector (EAD), which measures the antenna's response to different scents.
Research Scientist Doreen Hoover shows the boys some Spined Soldier Bugs in a petri dish:
The Scouts pose for a photo with their new scientist friends:
We have an appreciation for science here at Sterling, and Dr. Zhang feels there are too few scientists in the world today. I hope this visit stoked the boys' interest in biology, chemistry and entomology -- they certainly liked the bugs!
Kids' questions about bugs, pt. 2
Here are some more fun questions from kids about bugs -- this time from fifth graders:
- Do ants work all day?
- What is the fastest bug?
- What is the most powerful bug?
- What is the smallest bug?
- What insects are good pets?
- How do ants climb up walls?
- How do you get bees to come to a box beehive?
- What is the purpose of ladybugs, worms, Goliath beetles?
- Are there man-eating bugs?
Again, stay tuned for the answers to all these and more.
Got a question, kids? Ask it here!
Gardening with kids
Lots of other resources on this topic are available on the web, but I was just made aware of this one through my connection with the Garden Writers Association.
Getting kids involved in gardening offers a whole host of benefits, fun and teaching opportunities.
Says Don Shor of Redwood Barn Nursery:
"Kids and gardening are a natural combination. There's dirt, it's messy, the textures are interesting; you can grow food; there are bright colors, interesting smells, even some water play. Kids like to garden until it becomes a chore, or has too many rules."
Sounds like fun to me.
Kids' questions about bugs, pt. 1
We are compiling kids' questions about bugs for a new project. These questions are from second graders at Valley Christian School in Spokane Valley, Washington. Once we got them talking, there was no shortage of curiosity from these kids. Here's a sampling:
- How do bugs talk to each other?
- How do they climb upside down and hang on?
- How do they fly? How do their wings open?
- Do they have tongues? Noses? Senses?
- Why do lady bugs have spots?
- How big can bugs get?
- How do they make nests? Cocoons?
- How long can they survive without food?
- How do spiders walk on webs? How do they make webs?
Good questions... I'm just glad I don't have to answer them all! When our project concludes, all these and more questions will be answered, and we'll let you know where to go for our bug expert's responses.
Got any more bug-related questions from kids ages 7-13? Feel free to post them here. We may use them for our project.