WEBCAST: Adaptations - Inside the Insect Zoo

Dan Babbitt holding a Malayan Jungle Nymph (Heteropteryx dilatata). Image courtesy of Cameron Davidson.

Smithsonian Science How: Adaptations - Inside the Insect Zoo

Featuring Insect Zoo Manager Dan Babbitt

Dan Babbitt is the former Manager of the O. Orkin Insect Zoo and Butterfly Pavilion at the National Museum of Natural History. Join him in exploring the lives of insects and other arthropods at the Insect Zoo. Look at insect adaptations in a new light, considering how they eat, how they move, and how they grow. Think about the characteristics of each species that help keep it alive in tough conditions. Probe into the mysteries of the cycles of insect life and death and consider why a cockroach is a good parent. Plan to work through any aversions you may have to insects and spiders by seeing through Dan's eyes how fascinating and unique they are.

Watch a recording of the March 13, 2014, webcast using the link below. The show aligns with national science standards

Watch Webcast Video

How do you participate in the webcast program?

1. WATCH the archive video

2. Get TEACHING RESOURCES for the webcast

3. Design an ASSESSMENT for your students


The Arthropod Adaptations Webcast package supports students in meeting the following middle school NGSS Performance Expectations by offering a set of resources that integrate science concepts with science practice skills.

MS-LS2 Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

  • MS-LS2-1 Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.

MS-LS4 Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

  • MS-LS4-3 Analyze displays of pictorial data to compare patterns of similarities in the embryological development across multiple species to identify relationships not evident in the fully formed anatomy.

  • MS-LS4-4 Construct an explanation based on evidence that describes how genetic variations of traits in a population increase some individuals’ probability of surviving and reproducing in a specific environment.

  • MS-LS4-5 Gather and synthesize information about the technologies that have changed the way humans influence the inheritance of desired traits in organisms.