One of my favorite little summer camp students (D.) was giving me a very serious science lesson about the illustrious “Rolinky Polinky” bug. He is both a native Czech speaker and a very advanced English Speaker, but he practically convinced me that the formal name for this bug was, “Rolinky Polinky” -in Czech and English. The conversation went something like this:
D.: “Tato chyba je Rolinky Polinky.” (This bug is Rolinky Polinky)
Me: “Jsi si jistá?” (Are you sure?)
D.: “Annnooooo, je název science. Rolinky Polinky!” (Yeessssssss, is the science name. Rolinky Polinky!)
Me: “Rolinky Polinky?”
D.: “Ano Učitelkaaaaaaa…Rolinky Polinky.” (Yes Teacherrrrrr…Rolinky Polinky)
Me: “Rolinky Polinky!”
D.: “Rolinky Polinky!!!”
Naturally, after our discussion and during outside time, it seemed appropriate to take D. on a scavenger hunt and collect a few “Rolinky Polinkies” of our own. I should mention that I did my own google researching and learned that the official scientific name is Armadillidiidae -think of them as little Armadillo bugs.
Upon further inspection -which involved seeing how far they would crawl up your arm (and/or the teachers arm…because that’s funny -that would be me!), we would watch them crawl across sticks, leaves, the sandbox, up the trunk of one of the big trees at school, and practiced numbers in English by counting their exoskeleton plates. This has become quite a nice little investigative ritual between my student and I. He has even recruited his younger brother to participate. We’ve also taken this “Rolinky Polinky” investigating to the art room, by designing and drawing our very own interpretation of the bugs.
I think it’s quite magical what kids can perceive and learn from being out in nature. There’s always ample opportunity for them to explore, get messy and they have this innate wonder for the beauty and vastness of that natural world that peaks their curiosities in an amazing and pure way.
As always, my student and I made sure to put each Rolinky Polinky back under the rock or leaf where we found them.