ENTO 489
Special Topics in Insects in the Classroom: Bugs as teaching tools for all ages


EDCI 489
Special Topics in Elementary Science Teaching Methods: Putting inquiry and integration into practice

Credit Hours:Six (6)
Semester:First Summer Session 1998
Class location:Room 205, Minnie Belle Heep Building; Room 336, Harrington Tower and the Brazos Valley Museum as indicated
Time:8:00 am to 12:00 Noon.

Course description: This course will explore the use of insects as a teaching tool in K-12 education. The course will focus on the teaching of science concepts and on the development of critical thinking skills, and will extend to concepts of using insects as a tool to teaching across the curricula of science, mathematics, English, history, and art. The course is intended for in-service and upper division pre-service science teachers.

Prerequisites: Approval of EDCI coordinator and Co-enrollment in EDCI 489 Special Topics in Elementary Science Teaching Methods and ENTO 489 Special Topics in Insects in the Classroom.

Instructors: Dr. Pete Teel, Dr. John Jackman, Mr. Dwight Bohlmeyer, Mr. Richard Huey, Dr. Delmar Janke, and Dr. Dawn Parker

Course Content: | Week I | Week II | Week III | Week IV | Week V |
| Course Evaluation Procedures |


Session 1 (Monday, June 1/Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History).

  1. There's Never Been A Course Quite Like This!
    Introduction: Course description, goals, objectives, and the players. Ideas for lesson plans throughout the course. Compilation of materials and lesson plans for implementation, extension of materials developed by the class to teachers at large through the World Wide Web.
  2. What Are All These Bugs? A look at insects that can be found on the grounds of the BVMNH. The basics of collecting. What to look for and how to discover what you have collected.
  3. An Insect Pet... You Must Be Kidding! An assignment of observation and discovery. Keeping an observation journal.
  4. What are insects and how do they fit into the planet? Basic Entomology in a capsulated form:
    1. Anatomy - the grasshopper and how it compares to other insects.
    2. Physiology - necessary systems and how they work: circulatory, digestive, skeletal, respiratory, muscular, excretory, immune, reproductive.
    3. Poikilothermy
    4. Migration
    5. Climate
  5. Amazing transitions. Life Cycles: Changes in form, size, life styles, etc
Session 2(Tuesday, June 2/Heep Center Room 205).
Diversity In The Insect World... or, So Many Bugs and So Little Time!
  1. Recognition of Insect Orders
    Identification exercises.
  2. Taxonomy - how classification and organization works
    Application and Limitations.
  3. Development of Class Lesson Plans (Drs. Delmar Janke and Dawn Parker)
    Assignment: First Lesson Plan.
Session 3(Wednesday, June 3/Heep Center, Room 205).
Complexity in Ecosystems - The basics of how diversity, abundance, and and interactions become the foundation for critical thinking about environmental issues.
  1. Insects in Ecosystems
    1. Trophic levels - predators, commensalism, mutualism, parasitism,
    2. Adaptation, selection, and extinction
    3. Plant-Insect Interactions
      Pollination, herbivory, recycling, others
    4. Communication
    5. Diurnal/Seasonal Activity Cycles.
    6. Energy and chemical transfer
      Food chains. Food webs
  2. Changing educational paradigms for teaching science:
    1. A brief look at the National Science Education Standards, Benchmarks for Science Literacy, and the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS)
    2. Opportunities to teach critical thinking skills - bugs and the fascination and curiosity of children.
      Assignment: Second Lesson Plan - ecological systems.
  3. How to Observe, and Collect Information about Insects
    Collecting Equipment
    Observation chambers
    Measuring Equipment Monitoring environmental conditions
    Issue basic equipment package and prepare for first field trip.

Session 4.Thursday, June 4th/Field Trip to Lick Creek Park.
Diversity in Terrestrial and Aquatic Habitats.
" Scavenger Hunt"
Opportunities to use photography and video to integrate field and classroom connections.

Session 5.Friday, June 5th/Making an Insect Collection.

Why? and How?
Ethics related to killing specimens and alternatives.
Dry vs Wet Collections.
Pins, points, and spreading boards.
Presentation, labeling, and preservation.
Preparation of material collected during the Field Trip.


Session 6. Monday, June 8th/Culturing Insects

  1. Examples: mealworms, butterflies, fire ants: pea weevils and other stored products beetles, fruit flies, and many more.
  2. How to start, and how to maintain:
    Culture medias, containers, resources, potential problems and solutions.
  3. Opportunities for teaching regarding:
      Population growth
      Resource utilization
      Health/Well Being
    Assignment: Third Lesson Plan - Ideas and Concepts from Insect Cultures.

Session 7. Tuesday, June 9th/ The Expanded Classroom...or, Right On Your Own School Grounds!

Other Habitats and School Ground Resources

  1. Insect Gardens
    Plants, plant growth, and diversity.
    Insect-plant interactions:
         What to look for-
         What to measure-
  2. Insects and other arthropods as decomposers -
         Recycling/Composting and/or decaying logs.
  3. Other school ground-based teaching opportunities:
         Environmental transformations.
         Impacts of human development.
         Alteration in habitat structure and complexity.
         What is a healthy ecosystem and how can you tell?
  4. Planning and formulating classroom lessons-

    Prepare testable hypotheses for field trip.
    Define field trip goals and objectives.
    Define what is to be collected, how, and why.
    Designate groups and BISD school campus sites.
    Use of Paired Projects and Groups.
    Assignment: Classroom presentation of Friday, June 12th.

Session 8.Wednesday, June 10th / Field Trip to BISD School Campuses

Data Collection and Observations.
Processing of samples.
Compilation of data - use of tables, charts, graphs

Discussions and conclusions
   About the teaching opportunities
   About the science
Assignment: Guidelines for classroom presentations
   Guidelines for Team Investigations (Independent Student Study;
   Guided Imagery; Family Science; Interactive Bulletin Boards)

Session 9. Thursday, June 11th / Insects Across the Curriculum... Versatile Bugs!

  1. Insects & Humans
       Food Quality
       Pesticides & Poisons
          Case Study: Mosquitoes and household products.
       Wetland Issues - balancing perspectives.
       Art & Literature
       History - World, US, Texas, Science History.
       Language proficiency - written and oral communication.
  2. IPM - Integrated Pest Mangement
       Biological Control
       Habitat Disturbance & Ecological Transformations

Session l0. Friday, June 12th / Those School Ground Bugs....What did we learn?

  1. Field Trip Presentations
  2. Team Investigation Presentations
  3. Evaluation and Expansion


Session 11. Monday, June 15th / Preparation for the Classroom Experience

  1. Field Trip to the Brazos Valley Museum of Natural History, Brazos Center, with Dr. Richard Huey.
  2. Evaluation of specific resources indoor and outdoor.
  3. Profile of Summer Camp students.
  4. Exploration of ideas for activities and lessons appropriate to age/grade level.

Session 12. Tuesday, June 16th/Harrington Education Center, Room 336

  1. Assignment of teacher groups to student age level groups.
  2. Planning sessions for activities and lessons.

Session 13.Wednesday, June 17th/ Harrington Education Center, Room.336 Preparation of materials.

Session 14.Thursday, June 18th/ Brazos Valley Museum, Brazos Center

  1. Revisitation of sites
  2. Cross checking materials, supplies, etc.

Session 15.Friday, June l9th/ Harrington Education Center, Room.336 Discussion with each teacher group about their goals, plans, evaluation procedures, and mid-course alternatives.


Session 16.Monday, June 22nd / Brazos Valley Museum, Brazos Center Teaching Experience and Evaluation.

Session 17.Tuesday, June 23rd / Brazos Valley Museum, Brazos Center Teaching Experience and Evaluation.

Session 18.Wednesday, June 24th / Brazos Valley Museum, Brazos Center Teaching Experience and Evaluation.

Session 19.Thursday, June 25th / Brazos Valley Museum, Brazos Center. Teaching Experience and Evaluation.

Session 20.Friday, June 26th / Brazos Valley Museum, Brazos Center. Teaching Exserience and Evaluation.


Session 21.Monday, June 29th / Harrington Education Center, Room 336 Review and Discussion of Student Experiences. Expansion of ideas and conceDts for teachina.

Session 22.Tuesday, June 30th / Harrington Education Center, Room 336 Course Evaluation Discussion and Guidance for Course Improvement.

Course Evaluation Procedures:

Course grades will be based on the following scale.

                      A    100-90 Excellent
                      B    89-80 Good
                      C    79-70 Satisfactory
                      D    69-60 Unsatisfactory
                      F    59 or below Poor, and failing.

Course performance will be based on the following participation and learning tasks. Each of the first five tasks are worth 15% of the total grade for the courses. The last task is worth 25% of the total grade for the courses.

          * Insect Pet Journal
          * Field Trip Presentation
          * Team Investigations
          * Evaluation of Lesson Plans
          * Preparation of Insect Collection (10 specimens)
          * Delivery and Evaluation Report of Classroom Teaching
            Experience (Week IV).

Reference Materials/Resources:

    Drees, B. and J.A. Jackman. 1998. Field Guide to Texas Insects
    Golden Nature Guide Book to Insects
    Golden Nature Guide Book to Butterflies & Moths
    Golden Nature Guide Book to Spiders
    National and State Science Edcuation documents and materials
    Binder of articles and lesson plans compiled from various sources.
    World Wide Web compilation of resource addresses/sites.
    A series of books, catelogs, and documents will be placed on reserve.

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Texas A&M University, Department of Entomology
Student Technician: Andrew Perrone
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