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Firefly becomes Indiana's official insect!

Indiana Senate Bill 236


Fireflies DO glow in space!


We did it!!! Our (Zero-Gravity Glow Experiment) ZGGE firefly spaceflight experiment with Purdue launched from West Texas on Tuesday, December 12th.  It was a success!!!!   Not bad for second graders!


Maggie Samudio

Gr. 2 Cumberland Elementary School

West Lafayette, IN

Watch videos here:




IPE is so proud of Maggie and all of her work  and effort in giving her students an amazing lifetime experience!  IPE Teachers are the BEST!


Five years ago, IPE teacher Maggie Samudio from Cumberland Elementary in West Lafayette was asked a question in class by her student Kayla Xu why Indiana didn’t have an official state insect.  Maggie then challenged her 2nd grade students to change that.  Under her caring guidance, her students researched, developed, planned and implemented a state-wide project petitioning the Indiana legislature to name Say’s firefly (pyractomen angulata) as Indiana's official state insect.  Indiana was only one of three states in the union, along with Iowa and Michigan, without a designated state insect.


With her relentless support and encouragement, Maggie’s amazing students worked their way through the myriad of government bureaucracy and politics to persuade the Indiana Legislature - from petitioning the state assembly to finding supportive representatives to sending their fireflies to space.  The bill did not make it out of committee in 2016 so they re-petitioned the state in 2017.  In 2017, Senate Bill 236 successfully passed and Say’s firefly became Indiana’s official insect.  (Click here to see the long road they travelled to accomplish this goal.)


In addition to Say’s firefly now being the OFFICIAL state insect, their fireflies have also traveled to space in a zero gravity flight experiment, courtesy of Purdue’s School of Aeronautics and Astronautics program.  The experiment was designed so the chemicals that fireflies use could be combined via a computer inside of the payload box at just the right time and then a small video camera videoed the results. The result?  Yes, our fireflies light up in space, too!

Fireflies in Space


On Friday, August 23rd, 2019, Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch and West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis presented the state’s first “Brilliant Firefly” award to eleven of those students who set out on this historic and life-changing mission.  These students are now attending West Lafayette Intermediate School.

Photo Gallery:  Students Receive Brilliant Firefly Award

Video:  State honors West Lafayette Students

In today’s highly charged political atmosphere, it is comforting to know that behind the scene of every successful venture, of every challenge in our society, in every struggle to make significant and positive progress, to institute productive changes , there is a teacher with incredible patience, lending guidance and support and encouraging his/her student(s) to be successful and make the world a better place.  Thank you, Maggie, for changing the lives of your students, their families and our state!

Firefly zero gravity.jpg

​Updates on Firefly...

Maggie Samudio, 2nd grade teacher at Cumberland Elementary School in West Lafayette is an incredible teacher, directing her students through the myriad of government bureaucracy to have Say's firefly (pyractomen angulata) declared Indiana's state insect.  

Her amazing students  (led by Kayla) 2 years ago set out on a mission to petition the General Assembly to name an insect for Indiana.  Indiana was only one of three states in the union without a designated state insect.  

The bill did not pass out of committee in 2016.  They were re-introduced to the 2017 General Assembly:  House Bill 1034, House Bill 1109 and Senate Bill 165.   Again, it stalemated.  In 2017, Senate Bill 236 was successful and Pyractomena angulata or Say's Firefly is now the official insect of the State of Indiana!


Visit their Facebook page at:  to learn about their journey                                                   




Maggie's Classroom webpage


Wow!  Grade School Experiment goes into space


Can a firefly light up in space?

Firefly News Articles



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