But most of David Engel's fifth-graders, waiting their turn to go
into the Bug Bus, were engrossed as they examined the four cases of
stinging, biting and exotic insects indigenous to Southern
The VECMobile, a 35-foot traveling classroom nicknamed the Bug
Bus, is the first of its kind in the nation, designed to teach
fifth-grade students about vectors -- an insect or animal that
transmits a disease-producing organism from one host to another --
and vector-borne diseases.
"Four days of the week we're at different schools within our
district," Mobile Education Unit Assistant Jennifer Wilson said.
"We can make a pretty big impact on the kids. It's a great way to
get our message out on vectors."
The interior of the vehicle, painted like a pond with reeds and
lily pads on one side and a backyard with a white picket fence on the
other side, has four learning stations.
At one station, the children watched as three types of fish --
top-, middle- and bottom-feeders-- ate the wiggling mosquito larvae
that educator Karen Walker dropped into the tank.
At another station, the fifth-graders identified the stages of the
mosquito's life cycle, beginning with the water-borne eggs to the