Thursday, May 26, 2016

We have some great conservation efforts going on here at UNL! I am a Chinese Mantis, and am not endangered, but some of my fellow predators, like the Salt Creek Tiger Beetle, are not so lucky. They only survive on a tiny salt marsh near Lincoln, NE. Here is a great article about what the university is doing to save these important insects.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Hello everybody, my name is Drew Kendall.  I am a graduate student at UNL taking classes so that I can renew my teaching license.  I chose to take entomology classes as a combination of what was available and what was interesting.  Insects are all around us and I thought that by taking the class I could understand them better and help my future students understand them better.

Although, I have discovered something odd.  Nebraska, like other states, has a series of standards for the general ideas that should be taught and at what grade.  So with something as important as insects, you'd think they would be all over that right?  Not really.  The only time the word insect even shows up is in Life Science: Characteristics of Living Things: 3-5: "SC5.3.1.b Identify how parts of plants and animals function to meet basic needs (e.g., leg of an insect helps an insect move, root of a plant helps the plant obtain water)."

I substitute teach, or at least I did, I'll be a full-time teacher in the fall, so I've had a chance to talk to a few science teachers.  The amount of time they spend on insects varies from barely at all to a couple weeks, but they all told me basically the same things:
1.) "They aren't on the standards." (A sad commentary on how the Standards can stifle education, but you don't want to get into that argument.)
2.) "They need to know they are part of the Animal Kingdom and they are Arthropods."
3.) "Insects show up in food webs/chains as part of the flow of energy."

So basically everything a student needs to know by the time they graduate can essentially be summed up in the following sentence: "Insects are a form of insect, specifically a type of Arthropod, that can consume either a plant or an animal and in turn is consumed for food."

I think in the future, I'm going to spend more time on insects than just the minute it would take for my students to write that sentence down.  Maybe I'll keep the template for the pest profile and give it to them one day for a project.  :)


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

     My name is Kaitlin and I am freshman studying Advertising/Public Relations and Spanish. I'm taking this class to fulfill an ACE requirement. I decided to take Entomology 115 because I heard how great it was through a friend, and I am glad that I did. At the beginning of the semester I really hated insects, but now after learning how essential they are to survival-- I still think they are creepy-- I appreciate them much more. I also had no idea that some (although very few) insects live in the water. I didn't take this class with the lab (Entomology 116), but wish I would've because I think I could have absorbed the information better. I never knew how interesting insects could be, and how many different types there are. I think the classification system of insects is a great organization system, being an ADPR major I love when things are organized. I honestly couldn't see myself having a career in Entomology, but I respect those who do and I will think twice about squashing a bug next time I see one.

-Kaitlin VanLoon