I love this activity. Not only does it provide a great opportunity to engage the kids in a cooperative learning activity, it also provides me with a fascinating glimpse into their world – how they think about things and how they have processed previous lessons. Titled Integrated Pest Management, the lesson begins with a mini-lesson on the life-cycle of the mosquito. We have observed the mosquito larvae on a nature outing in the past, Mosquitos: Summer Nature Study, so they had a great deal of prior knowledge.
I then introduced the simulation … a local farmer has a problem with the mosquito population and needs their help to control the species using Integrated Pest Management techniques. I share what that means and provide a few examples. I then give them a map of the farmers property and ask that they work together to generate suggested strategies. As they record their ideas, we discuss the pros (why this strategy could work) and cons (what other harm could this strategy cause) of each strategy.
It is amazing to me some of the ideas they come up with and the ideas they toss out of contention because of the potential harm it could cause other species.
Here’s a partial list of their ideas:
- Install bat nesting boxes
- Put a net over the pool when not in use
- Install a filter system on the live stock water troughs
- Get rid of the invasive blackberries
How about you? Did you all come up with other ideas? Why would removing invasive blackberries be beneficial?
If you are looking for more hands-on ideas and lessons about insects, I have compiled a number of my favorites in a unit study approach, Introductory Entomology. Through hands-on activities, real life simulations, and multi-media presentations this six-week unit incorporates more than 10 entomology lessons and suggested extension activities.