Terrestrial isopods (often referred to as sow bugs or pill bugs) are small, land-dwelling crustaceans. Because of their gentle nature, terrestrial isopods are excellent animals to have in a science classroom. There are many fun and effective classroom activities that utilize terrestrial isopods to teach science concepts, but there are multiple barriers to acquiring the large number of terrestrial isopods needed for classroom activities. Furthermore, when terrestrial isopods are brought into the classroom, the possibility exists that they will die inhumanely because finding good information on their proper care and reproduction can be difficult. Websites, books, and magazines frequently provide contradictory, inaccurate, incomplete, overly complex, and inhumane care information. To address these issues, this article explains how to set up a simple, low-maintenance, and inexpensive classroom enclosure for the terrestrial isopod species Porcellio scaber. These techniques, which I use in my classroom, produce large numbers of healthy captive-bred P. scaber. This article also presents examples of effective, hands-on classroom activities utilizing P. scaber.

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