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Special Collection: Resources for Teaching Entomology

Telling Insect Tales: Assessing the Effectiveness of Educational Stories
The eastern lubber grasshopper (Romalea microptera), one of the most distinctive grasshoppers of the southeastern United States, is incapable of flight, unlike many other species of grasshoppers. It mostly travels by walking and crawling

“Why not use insect stories to help children learn about and love entomology, and science in general? From an early age, children may be fascinated by insects, which are small, mobile, and often colorful. All of these features have the potential to intrigue children and may transport them to a fantastic world, exciting their curiosity, which is such an important component of learning that it was considered by Mainardi (1975) a "capital resource of humanity." Our hypothesis is that contact with this fascinating world of insects may engage children and enable them to face the challenge of learning the complex realities that govern the world of nature.”

- "Telling Insect Tales: Assessing the Effectiveness of Educational Stories," American Entomologist, January 2011.


Teaching Ecology with Caterpillars: Comparing the Growth of Two Generalists Reared on Novel and Known Host Plants
The cabbage looper (Trichoplusia ni) feeds on a wide variety of plants and weeds, from broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower to beets, cantaloupe, cotton, and tobacco. Larvae consume three times their weight in plant material daily. 

“Applying the scientific method in a laboratory setting should be the focus of college science courses. Lab work also provides experience in data collection, analysis, and interpretation: important preparation for research and medical careers. In-class research using insects is popular due to the ease of obtaining, rearing, and working with insects. Moreover, using insects in class projects can demonstrate to students their broad applicability as models for all biological systems.”

-"Teaching Ecology wih Caterpillars: Comparing the Growth of Two Generalists Reared on Novel and Known Host Plants," American Entomologist, April 2012.

Engaging Undergraduate Students in Insect Biology Through Forensic Entomology
Flies in the family Sarcophagidae, commonly known as flesh flies, depositing hatched or hatching maggots on carrion, dung, decaying material, or open wounds of mammals. Because they will colonize human remains early in the decay process, they can be useful evidence for forensic entomologists when they are present.

“Why are students more interested in ‘bugs’ in the realm of forensic entomology than when discussed in other contexts? The explanation is centered in part with the ‘CSI effect’ stemming from public fascination with crime shows (Rivers and Dahlem 2014). Augmenting that curiosity are maggot topics addressed by television programs like Dirty Jobs, MythBusters (both airing on the Discovery Channel), and others that help perpetuate the ‘gross, yet fascinating’ effect. My students have found the idea of using fly maggots to solve murders to be intriguing. More importantly, students with this point of view may be displaying a different level of intellectual curiosity than those being ‘forced’ to take a traditional population biology course.”

- "Engaging Undergraduate Students in Insect Biology Through Forensic Entomology," American Entomologist, June 2016.

Development and Implementation of a Bed Bug IPM Enrichment Curriculum, Part 1
Development and Implementation of a Bed Bug IPM Enrichment Curriculum, Part 2

Schools provide excellent opportunities for bed bug (Cimex lectularius) introductions and re-introductions. Because bed bugs so small, they can be unwittingly transported from infested homes to school on a child’s belongings, including book bags and lunchboxes.

“As concerns about bed bug sightings began to increase and schools began to report bed bug introductions, an expert group convened by the Environmental Protection Agency recommended development of curricula to teach young students about bed bug biology and management. The Bed Bugs and Book Bags curriculum is our response to this recommendation. This third- through fifth-grade curriculum was developed using a six-step process, and has been implemented by health educators, teachers, and the pest management industry within and outside of the United States. The curriculum consists of 10 lessons correlated with state health educational standards and is specifically designed to educate teachers and students about bed bugs.”

- "Development and Implementation of a Ben Bug IPM Enrichment Curriculum," American Entomologist, June 2016. 


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