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4-6th Grade Virtual Book Discussion: Boy Bites Bug w/ DIY Chromatography Butterfly 

Boy Bites Bug by Rebecca Petruck is a middle school juvenile fiction book for 4th-6th graders.

Will didn’t intend to eat a stinkbug, but when his friend Darryl calls the new kid, Eloy Herrera, a racial slur, he didn’t think he just acted. Now will is Bug Boy and he kind of likes it.

Intending to keep up his notoriety and title as Bug Boy, Will talks Eloy into helping him get his classmates to eat bugs. But the more Will learns about Eloy and entomophagy in general, the more sincere he becomes about his project. For Will, eating bugs is no longer just a joke but everyone sees it that way. And what’s worse, he really likes Eloy and is afraid he may have ruined this budding friendship.

What can Will do to make everyone understand his real intentions when all anyone can see if a joke?

Discussion Questions:

1. What is this book about? What are the main themes?

2. What is the difference between entomophagy and entomology?

3. Will doesn’t intend to eat a stinkbug but he does it anyway. Why? And why is this so important to the story?

4. In many cultures eating insects is commonly practiced. Have you ever eaten a bug? Why do you think there is a stigma around eating bugs?

5. What do you think about Will as a character? Is he relatable, over-the-top, silly…

6. As Will’s friendship with Elroy grows, he and Darryl start to grow apart. When Will asks his dad for advice he says: “Sometimes,” Dad said, “people outgrow each other. It doesn’t mean we stop caring or forget the good times, but maybe we realize we need different things, things that we can’t get from each other anymore.” Have you every “outgrown” a friendship? Or has anyone “outgrown” you? How did it make you feel?

7. Will gets in the whole mess because he didn’t like how Darryl was treat Eloy but Will has his own prejudices that he isn’t even aware. What are some examples?

8. What did you think about the “Buck-a-Bug” fundraiser? Was Will able to successfully turn Entomophagy from a joke into a good cause?

9. In the background of this story, is Will’s longing to be on the varsity wrestling team. Before his big match his coach says, “Take a breath… Whatever’s going on, it’ll still be there when you get off the matt.” Do you ever feel like you can escape into a hobby and let everything else go?

10. Think about cultural differences around the world. Can you name some things that would be done every day somewhere else, that might see unusual here? And vic-versa, what might we do that other would look on as “different.”

DIY Activity: Chromatography Butterfly

Supplies Needed: white coffee filters (large size, not Kcups); non-permanent markers; cup of water; string; scissors; pipe cleaners optional.

Directions: 

  1. Pick a marker (try with multiple marks on your second attempt and see what happens).

  2. Take one coffee filter and spread it out on top of a piece of paper. Draw a circle in the flat middle of the filter.

  3. Fold the coffee filter in half and then in half again. It will look somewhat like a cone.

  4. Get a short glass of water and stick the filter in with just the tip of the cone touching the water. Fan out the rest so it balances in the cup.

  5. Let sit and watch what happens as the filter sucks up the water.

  6. Flatten it out and place on your paper or newspaper to dry.

  7. Once dry, take your filter and scrunch it in the middle. Tie the middle with string or your pipe cleaner. If you are using the pipe cleaner, the ends can still out to look like antenna.

  8. Hang the butterfly with string and watch them fly!

The Science:

“Chromatography… is the science of separating mixtures. Mikhail Tsvet discovered that since different color pigments have different weights, they are carried along at different speeds, and end up in different places. So one can use different substances (gas or liquid) to carry the color, and by examining where different tints end, figure out what pigments were combined to make it.” -(https://kidminds.org/chromatography-experiments-with-kids-5-ways/)

How’d it go:

We had a great group for book club this month! Some new faces and some really great discussion. We had a little trouble getting the hang of how far to dip our coffee filters into the water, but it was all part of trial and error. This was a good month!

That’s all for now!

-M-

#virtualprogramming #amreading #juvenilefiction #STEM #jlit #bugs #bookclub

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