By Gwen Pearson
“I need an ant. Who’s got an ant?”
That comment came from Angela Vossenkuhl, director of Concordia University Undergraduate studies in the College of Education. She was building a pitfall trap as part of a workshop held to encourage educators to use insects in the classroom.
The Entomological Foundation teacher workshop was offered in conjunction with the ESA Annual Meeting Saturday, November 15, 2014. Twenty-five K-12 educators and extension outreach staffers attended. Many participants were elementary education student teachers from Concordia University.
Generous donations allowed the Foundation to offer the workshops to teachers for free, and included a CD-ROM with classroom materials for each participant.
The three sessions offered were Insects in the Classroom, Classroom InPESTigation, and Targeted Collecting.
Insects in the Classroom was led by Katie Dana and Christina Silliman, graduate students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It’s a curriculum developed by the Entrepreneurial Leadership in STEM Teaching & Learning (EnLiST) Partnership, funded through the NSF Math Science Partnership program. You can download a copy of their “Exploring insect adaptations” lesson plan here.
A Classroom InPESTigation was led by Carrie Foss, Washington State University, Urban IPM Coordinator. The curriculum is built upon problem and inquiry-based design principles. Each lesson contains questions and worksheets to help engage students to make evidence-based claims. Foss partnered with an elementary education graduate student to make sure the curriculum was standards-based and consistent with best learning practices for young children. You can download a PDF copy of the curriculum here.
Exploring Insect Biology: Targeted Collecting was taught by Melissa Scherr, Northwest Entomological Research Center. It focused on exploring the world of insects by learning about active, passive, and targeted sampling, and how insect senses affect their perception of the world (and traps!).
Mariel Snyder coordinated the workshops for the Entomological Foundation, and many student volunteers provided support for the workshop and the instructors. Everyone involved agreed the workshop was a success!
Gwen Pearson is the entomologist formerly known as Bug Girl. She obtained her PhD in entomology from North Carolina State University, and her Charismatic Minifauna blog appears in Wired Magazine. Follow her on Twitter at @bug_girl.