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.  :)


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