Visiting Biologists Welcome Grammar School Students Aboard the BioBus

This week, a metallic silver bus pulled up outside of 5 West 94th Street with two expert biologists on board. Organized by Grammar School science teacher Stephanie Avena, the BioBus activity was led by Mr. Luis Perez-Cuesta introduced second, third and fourth graders to microscopes and allowed them to observe a variety of animals under the lenses, as part of BioBus, a nonprofit whose mission is to make science education readily accessible to all.  


In the second grade, students used microscopes to compare and contrast familiar insects and crustaceans, considering their hair and spines and other traits that may be invisible to the naked eye. “How can bugs survive while staying so small?” the students pondered.


In the third grade, students studied the inner workings of Daphnia, a shrimp-like animal found in ponds and puddles across the city and the country. Only a few millimeters long, this crustacean’s transparent shell allows students, with the help of a microscope, to observe beating hearts, twitching muscles, a wriggling digestive system and spidery veins. After examining a specimen so small, students looked at their own body under a microscope, considering the skin, eyes, hair and how these complex body parts make us mammals. Students walked away with an understanding of some universal characteristics that allow animals, big and small, to survive and thrive.


In the fourth grade, students used microscopes to inspect arthropods and discuss the various adaptations that they have undergone to survive and thrive over time. As the most diverse group of animals on earth, students learned that the varying ecosystems that arthropods live in have altered the evolution of their traits over time.  

To read more about the BioBus, click here.