Resource Type:Online Resource
Website and/or Calendar Links
What is Bugscope?
The Bugscope project provides free interactive access to a scanning electron microscope (SEM) so that students anywhere in the world can explore the microscopic world of insects. This educational outreach program from the Beckman Institute's Imaging Technology Group at the University of Illinois supports K-16 classrooms worldwide.
Bugscope allows teachers everywhere to provide students with the opportunity to become microscopists themselves—the kids propose experiments, explore insect specimens at high-magnification, and discuss what they see with our scientists—all from a regular web browser over a standard broadband internet connection.
How does it work?
You sign up, ask your students to find some bugs, and mail them to us. We accept your application, schedule your session, and prepare the bugs for insertion into the electron microscope. When your session time arrives, we put the bug(s) into the microscope and set it up for your classroom. Then you and your students login over the web and control the microscope. We'll be there via chat to guide you and answer the kids' questions.
Before each session, teachers and students can prepare by reading through our tutorials and FAQs. We can also schedule a test session so you can try it out first if you want. After your session, you can forever return to our website to view every chat line, image, and sample you—and every other classroom—has collected. Bugscope has been active since 1999 and has supported almost 1000 sessions with more than 200 different schools.
Why BUGscope? Insects are the right size and work well in the microscope. They're easy to find on nearly every playground or backyard. They have great detail at high magnification that most people have never seen. They fit into most schools' science curriculums. And finally, because kids are fascinated by bugs!
Important Notes Before You Apply
Commitment When you schedule a Bugscope session we're reserving time on a piece of equipment in an active research lab. Additionally, a whole team of people reserves time in their schedules to chat with you online during your live session. If you cannot join us at your scheduled time please let us know, even at the last moment, so that we can free up our staff and equipment.
Planning Ahead These days, especially during the school season, we have been booked up at least 6 weeks in advance. Please consider this when you apply; we may not be able to accept sessions on short notice.
What To Expect Once you submit your application you will receive a confirmation email. You can expect a response in several business days. If your application is accepted we will coordinate with you by email to choose a date and time for your live session.
More answers to questions about the application can be found in our F.A.Q.
- Imaging Technology Group
- Beckman Institute for Advanced Science & Technology