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Tri-State students preparing for their first cicada invasion

Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 6:16 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - It’s almost time for the cicada invasion of 2021. Now some students at New Richmond High School are making sure they’re prepared and learning everything they can before the insects emerge.

The students, who will experience the cicadas for the first time, have gone so far as to set up a cicada museum with all kinds of facts about the insects.

“I’m not looking forward to them at all,” 11th grader Maddie Wells said. “There’s so many of them. There’s such a big number. They’re probably going to be really scary.”

Emily Carter, one of Wells’ classmates, agrees.

“Honestly I’m not that scared of bugs or anything, so I don’t have a problem with it, but the amount of numbers that are coming out... that might be concerning,” Carter said.

The idea for the cicada museum came about a few months ago to help students learn more about the historic occurrence of Brood X cicadas.

“I think this is a really wonderful example of real-world, project-based learning because it’s super relevant,” Megan Whitacre, an education technology specialist working with the students, said “The cicadas are about to come out, and now our kids are equipped to talk about everything that’s going on with them.

“But also, they really had to think about, what does this look like from a perspective of someone who knows nothing about cicadas, From a perspective of someone who’s never seen these before?”

Each student was tasked with researching a different topic related to cicadas, then putting together an exhibit. It’s a project that instructors say required thinking outside the box while using 21st-century skills.

Said 11th grader Tyler Arlinghaus, “My project is a sound keyboard where I programmed a Raspberry Pie. When I press the metal together, it plays cicada sounds, and I put a different beat in the background, so people can try to make songs with it.”

Carter’s project required that she learn an entirely new skill.

“I made a cicada circulator where you type in your weight and it calculates how many cicadas that would equal,” she said. “I never had coded before, and I had to learn how to code for that, and that was a challenge.”

In the next few weeks, middle schoolers in the district will be able to come play with the exhibit. After that, it’s going down to the New Richmond Public Library, where it’ll be on display to the public for the summer.

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