Adaptations: Inside the Insect Zoo featuring Dan Babbitt

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


The Arthropod Adaptations webcast was broadcast live March 13, 2014. The link to archived version of the 11am EST show is below. 

11 a.m EDT Arthropod Adaptations webcast, featuring Dan Babbitt, Archive


Dan Babbitt is the 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.


Use the related resources below to take your students on a journey to understand how experts care for and learn about insects. Design an assessment for your class.

Lessons Inquiry-based lessons that teachers prepare and facilitate in the classroom using everyday materials

The Wowbug: Getting a Closer Look

Excerpt from an STC Program™ unit from the Smithsonian Science Education Center

Click-through Activities Online activities that students can complete independently on classroom computers or at home

  • Forest Layers What insects and other other bugs can you find? From the Smithsonian's National Zoo

Literacy Resources Reading selections to boost science literacy

Science Expert Role Models Links to inspiring science experts at the Smithsonian and beyond

At the National Museum of Natural History A window into what's available at the museum

Q?rius Explore Q?rius, a new way to experience the research, collections, and science at the National Museum of Natural History.

  • Q?rius Page on Pollination Featuring scientific experts from the National Museum of Natural History
  • Collections Explore insects and other bugs in Q?rius, digitized for investigation from your classroom or at home.

From the Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access

Related Videos:


The Adaptation: Secret Lives of Bugs Webcast Package supports students in meeting the NGSS Performance Expectations listed below by offering a set of resources that integrate science concepts with science practice skills. Click here for detailed alignment table.

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.