Using insects as tools the investigators on this application will design an active-learning program that will increase students’ scientific literacy and reasoning skills. The instructional materials will be multi-level and multidisciplinary providing many links between science and everyday life and will enable teachers to draw in students of many levels and cultural backgrounds. Previous results have clearly demonstrated that the presence of live insects in classrooms generates excitement focuses attention and improves retention of lesson content. The increasing failure of insecticides to control insects is linked to a consideration of toxicology and biological control. The overwhelming importance of the most decimating and prevalent human diseases (e.g. malaria) and food and fiber crops in all cultures provide innumerable links to human health history economics and culture throughout the world. Instructional materials will be designed to exploit these connections to heighten students’ interest in health sciences. Students will meet active scientists through video presentations and share data analyses and experiences with scientists and other classrooms through the Internet. The instructional program will be created through a partnership with teachers piloted in local schools and tested at distant sites to validate its effectiveness in other regions.
This project involves the use of insects to introduce students in grades K-3 to the wonders of science. Both English and Spanish versions of educational materials are used. A 20-lesson publication -Using Live Insects in the Elementary Classroom for Early Lessons in Life- that addresses health-related topics is intended to foster a scientific approach to problem solving. Ten or more training institutes are being held nationwide each year to expand dissemination of this project.