Students create masks for Fairchild Challenge parade

Students from Sunset Park Elementary and St. Thomas Episcopal Parish School display their masks.

Students from Sunset Park Elementary and St. Thomas Episcopal Parish School display their masks.

More than 300 parents and elementary school students from 30 Miami schools attended Fairchild Challenge’s Parade of Incredible Insects (with students wearing masks) in the Challenge’s annual competition for elementary schools on Saturday, Dec. 14, at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables.

Students were charged with researching an insect and learning how that insect interacts with plants. Then, they were asked to create a mask of their chosen insect with an emphasis on natural and recycled materials, which they displayed at the parade.

More than 80 percent of all living beings on earth are insects. Even though they are small, insects play a huge role as they are responsible for important ecological services such as pollination, seed dispersal, and decomposition of organic matter.

The Fairchild Challenge is Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden’s award-winning multidisciplinary STEM education competition, now in its 12th year. It reaches 130,000 students in South Florida at more than 260 schools from Pre-K to 12. The Fairchild Challenge includes a cross-curriculum science initiative and comprehensive environmental training pipeline, including the nationwide STEM directive — Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

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