Why Study Insects?

The study of insects is called entomology (en•to•mol•o•gy). The Teaming with Insects curriculum is written for youth who enjoy learning about science and nature by studying insects.

Insects are the perfect vehicle to capture the attention of youth who may be taken aback by insects or utterly fascinated by them. Insects are ubiquitous and can be observed and collected in nearly every habitat in nearly every part of the world. As a group, their tremendous success can be attributed, in part, to their diversity of form and ability to adapt to a wide-range of environments.

Nearly three-fourths of all animals are insects or their relatives. Because of their sheer numbers (nearly one million species) insects impact our lives daily. They compete with us for food, they can carry diseases, and they impact our renewable resources affecting our economy. But insects are major benefactors too, controlling other insect pests, pollinating a wide variety of crops, and recycling organic matter. Insects have been reviled in movies and extolled in art, music, and literature.

Insects are ideal organisms for study by urban and rural youth without regard to socio-economic background. They are free or can be obtained at minimal cost from pet stores or scientific supply houses. Because of their small size, insects can be easily reared in various containers and observed for all basic life processes.

Level 1

Grades 3-5

Level 1 introduces youth to the world of insects. Activities focus on how insects look and move and provide background for studying important entomology topics.

Goals and Activities

Learning Goals

  • Begin to learn about insect form and function.
  • Begin to learn about integrated pest management and forensic entomology.
  • Develop an understanding of and an appreciation for entomology (the study of insects).

Chapter Activities

  1. Be an Entomologist – beginning collecting, learning insect body parts
  2. Biodiversity – exploring insect habitat and communication differences
  3. Invasive Species – youth learn some invasive insects and why they compete so successfully
  4. Integrated Pest Management – youth search for insect and insect relative pests
  5. Forensic Entomology – youth learn to observe carefully and to keep observation records

Downloads

Materials List

Download

Entomology Glossary

Download

Activity 5 FACETnating

Download

Activity 7 Pit Stops

Download

Activity 14 Chirp Chirp

Download

Resources

Amateur Entomologists’ Society

Visit Online

Biological Control of Purple Loosestrife

Visit Online

Entomological Society of America

Visit Online

eXtension, Pest Management

Visit Online

How to Make an Awesome Insect Collection

Visit Online

National Invasive Species Information Center

Visit Online

National Pest Management Association, Inc.

Visit Online

Purdue University, Department of Entomology

Visit Online

The Beehive

Visit Online

Level 2

Grades 6-8

Level 2 shows youth how to make insect collection tools and expands on the basic concepts of biodiversity, invasive species, integrated pest management, and forensic entomology.

Goals and Activities

Learning Goals

  • Learn how to make insect collection tools.
  • Learn more about insects and insect diversity.
  • Develop a deeper understanding of and an appreciation for entomology.

Chapter Activities

  1. Be an Entomologist – youth make and use their own insect collection tools
  2. Biodiversity – youth collect insects in different habitats and observe diversity in form and function
  3. Invasive Species – youth conduct research to learn about invasive species (origin, damage, control)
  4. Integrated Pest Management – youth explore conditions that can provide insect habitat and collect insect pests
  5. Forensic Entomology – youth study insect tracks and exoskeletons and make a journal for keeping data

Downloads

Materials List

Download

Glossary

Download

Resources

Hungry Pests, USDA invasive species information

Visit Online

Amateur Entomologists’ Society

Visit Online

Carolina Biological Supplies

Visit Online

Creating a Butterfly Garden, University of Minnesota

Visit Online

Entomological Society of America

Visit Online

eXtension, Pest Management

Visit Online

How to Make an Awesome Insect Collection

Visit Online

Junior Master Gardener program

Visit Online

MAPIS - Pest Tracker

Visit Online

National Invasive Species Council

Visit Online

National Invasive Species Information Center

Visit Online

National Pest Management Association, Inc.

Visit Online

Purdue Extension

Visit Online

Purdue University, Department of Entomology

Visit Online

Smithsonian Institution's Seeds of Change Garden

Visit Online

The Beehive

Visit Online

The Nature Conservancy

Visit Online

University of Kentucky: How to Make Butterfly Garden

Visit Online

USDA, APHIS Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey

Visit Online

USDA, National Invasive Species Information Center

Visit Online

Level 3

Grades 9-12

Level 3 delves even deeper into the basic concepts and encourages youth to take control of their learning by doing their own research using the scientific method and reference materials.

Goals and Activities

Learning Goals

  • Conduct research and use resources beyond the manual for in-depth study of entomology.
  • Use the scientific method and keep accurate records.
  • Expand understanding of and appreciation for entomology.
  • Educate others about entomology.

Chapter Activities

  1. Be an Entomologist – youth explore entomology careers, insects as symbols, and the scientific method
  2. Biodiversity – youth study insect diversity in outdoor settings, make a dichotomous key, and study insect behavior
  3. Invasive Species – youth compare native and non-native insect species and learn about using insects for a biological control of an invasive plant species
  4. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) – youth explore human factors in IPM and the importance of education in IPM
  5. Forensic Entomology – youth conduce forensic entomology experiments

Downloads

Materials List

Download

Glossary

Download

Resources

Hungry Pests, USDA invasive species information

Visit Online

Biological Control of Purple Loosestrife

Visit Online

Entomological Society of America (ESA)

Visit Online

eXtension, Pest Management

Visit Online

Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Food

Visit Online

Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Food Safety

Visit Online

National Invasive Species Information Center

Visit Online

National Pest Management Association, Inc.

Visit Online

Purdue Extension

Visit Online

Purdue University, Department of Entomology

Visit Online

The Beehive

Visit Online

Facilitator's Guide

Welcome to the 4‑H Entomology project, Teaming with Insects!  As a project facilitator you will work with youth interested in learning about insects.  The Facilitator’s Guide provides helpful information on exploring insect study, the contribution of insects to biodiversity, how to manage pests, invasive species, and forensic entomology.

Your main role is provide a safe, supportive environment for youth to practice important life skills as they explore the world of entomology through many exciting, insect related activities. You can help youth get the most out of this project by being enthusiastic about their efforts and asking thoughtful questions. Team up with youth to help them select goals, identify resources, gain confidence, and evaluate their own progress. The activities are designed so youth have an opportunity to “learn by doing” with your help and guidance.

Downloads

Completion Certificates

Download

Curriculum Summary

Download

Materials List

Download

Glossary

Download

Facilitator Tips

Download

Essential Elements of 4‑H

Download

Research References

Download

Activity 5 FACETnating

Download

Activity 7 Pit Stops

Download

Activity 14 Chirp Chirp

Download

Resources

How to Make an Awesome Insect Collection

Visit Online

Experiential Learning in 4‑H Project Experiences

Visit Online

National agricultural library - Invasive animals

Visit Online

Junior Master Gardener program

Visit Online

University of Kentucky: How to Make Butterfly Garden

Visit Online

Creating a Butterfly Garden, University of Minnesota

Visit Online

Biological Control of Purple Loosestrife

Visit Online

FDA Food Action Defect Levels (2005)

Visit Online

Amateur Entomologists’ Society

Visit Online

Entomological Society of America

Visit Online

National Pest Management Association, Inc.

Visit Online

National Invasive Species Information Center

Visit Online

The Beehive

Visit Online

Purdue University, Department of Entomology

Visit Online

eXtension, Pest Management

Visit Online