Sandlapper Society

Entomology K-12 Education

Clemson Entomology faculty are vitally interested in the education of all South Carolinians. Several specific programs have been designed to be used by K-12. The Butterfly Project and the Virtual Museum are two such programs. Clemson Entomology faculty and students are available for classroom or outdoor lab visits, locally, and can provide expertise in helping you create your own multi-disciplinary classroom experience, using resources provided on this website and others. Look around the website for yourself. Be creative! All insects have six legs and three body parts, they come in many shapes, sizes, and colors, and they view our world through compound eyes; they are found on every continent on Earth and are some of the oldest known living creatures. Think of the possibilities!

What is Entomology?

Entomology is the scientific study of insects. Insects are the dominant animal life form on earth. They make up more than 80 percent of all described animal species. Insects have a huge impact on our lives. They are a critical part of the ecosystems that support human life. We depend on pollinators and other beneficial insects for food production, natural pest control, and waste decomposition. But, insects also cause billions of dollars in yearly losses to crops, stored products, forests, and buildings. Insect pests affect millions of people worldwide with diseases, causing illness or even death. Insects are an exciting and challenging field of study. A degree in Entomology is a gateway to a variety of careers that include teaching, research, pest control, many areas of state and federal government, the military and private industry.

If you find you have an interest in environmental issues, evolution, genetics, preventing disease, water quality, feeding the hungry, healthcare, or even law enforcement, a degree in entomology may be just what you are looking for!

Professional entomologists have careers in university teaching, research, Cooperative Extension, structural pest control (preventing damage to homes and other structures), industrial and institutional pest control (keeping insects out of your school and other public places), public health agencies, pest-management consulting, agricultural business, consulting for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or other law enforcement agencies, the Armed Forces medical corps, environmental monitoring services, quarantine and other regulatory agencies.

Even if you don’t want to be a professional entomologist, but you are interested in anything you’ve read so far, the study of insects can also be a valuable addition to degrees in other areas, such as horticulture, animal science, forestry, education, medicine, veterinary science. What about art or music or literature? Insects provide wonderful subject matter!

Insect Experiments for the Classroom (PDF)

Biodiversity and Sampling

For this exercise, we will be collecting data on local insect populations using a variety of sampling techniques.

Insect Anatomy

For this exercise, we will examine lubber grasshoppers, which exhibit a generalized insect form. In addition, we will examine examples of antennae, wings, and legs that differ from the grasshoppers' generalized form.

Insect Growth & Development

This activity uses silverfish, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, and mealworm beetles as examples to demonstrate ametabolous, hemimetabolous, and holometabolous forms of insect growth and development. All three insects are well suited for use as classroom colonies for several reasons.

Insect Communication

The three most common methods of communication in insects are auditory (sounds), olfactory (chemical odors), and visual (sight). In this exercise we will look at how these three forms of communication work in nocturnal (night-active) insects.

Lantana Pollination Activity

Participants learn about the advantages and disadvantages of different feeding strategies while they race to gather the most pollen.

Monarch Migration Activity

The activity described here allows students to act out and experience butterfly development from egg through caterpillar to chrysalis and finally adult, with all of the perils that go along with being a caterpillar.

Moonflower Pollination Activity

In this activity, students will become hawkmoths and attempt to collect nectar and pollen from flowers while avoiding becoming prey to the predators lurking in the garden. They will investigate the proboscis of the moth as an adaptation allowing it to feed and survive. They also will investigate ways living things interact with each other in the nocturnal garden.

Termite Communication

To conduct this study, students should be divided into groups with each group receiving a selection containing a variety of pens (must include at least one of either Scripto® or Papermate® product), some blank newsprint, and a container of termites. Students should place a few termites on the paper and observe and record their activity, asking questions such as, "Do the termites exhibit any pattern to their movements?" or "Do they go in any particular direction?"

Clemson Entomology's Web site offers much more information!  


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