‘Introduction To Insects’

“Can anyone tell me what the word ‘foe’ means?” asked Roslyn Sisley-Kazalunas, Love Elementary School teacher, to her second-graders. “Why don’t you discuss the definition with your partner?”

The second-graders’ partners turned to each other and discussed the definition.

“A foe is an enemy,” was the consensus from the class.

“That’s right. Remember when we talked about friends and foes? Some insects are enemies, or foes, and others are friends. Can someone give me an example of a friendly insect?”

“A ladybug,” said another student who is researching ladybugs for her report.

“But, how does a ladybug help us?” asked another student.

“Because they eat aphids and if they didn’t, the aphids would destroy all the crops and people wouldn’t have food or water.”

The second-graders were learning the difference between friends and foes during their “Introduction to Insects” English language arts module. As part of this module, all second-grade students are introduced to the largest group of animals on Earth – insects. They learn the characteristics of insects, the life cycle, how insects can be categorized as solitary or social, and how insects are viewed as both harmful and helpful. Other topics include: “What Makes an Insect an Insect?” “Social Insects: Ants and Termites,” “Insects that Glow and Sing” and “Armored Tanks of the Insect World.”

Part of the insect module includes learning about “social” insects like bees. The second-grade team of Laurie Hind, Kim Knight, Wendy Lindstrom and Roslyn Sisley-Kazelunas invited English as a second language teacher Elizabeth Kindermann into their classroom to talk about being a beekeeper, which is something her husband does.

In the visit, Kindermann discussed how they take care of the bees, the equipment that is used and how honey is harvested in the fall. They also discussed the different types of bees in a hive and the different jobs they do. Kindermann brought in a hive body with frames of comb so the students could get a good idea of what a beehive looks like inside. Jill Hopkins, physical education teacher, brought in a paper wasps’ nest for the class to examine.

“Students become very excited about learning when they can see how it applies to real life,” Kindermann said. “As a teacher at Love School, it seemed very natural to discuss beekeeping with the second-grade classrooms in conjunction with their insect unit. Bringing in beekeeping equipment and talking with a beekeeper allows students to make a strong connection with their curriculum. The students had many questions about bees and beekeeping and seemed genuinely interested. It is exciting to see students latch on to a topic that intrigues them.”

As part of the “Introduction to Insects,” students gather the information they learn in journals and have the opportunity to further research one insect and write a report. Students also conduct read-alouds in different characters such as an insect character or an entomologist. This module lays the foundation for further study of the life cycles, habitats and classification of insects and other animals.

“We work hard to have members of the community participate in enriching the second-grade curriculum,” said the second-grade team. “In addition to the Kindermanns, we have also invited the Jamestown Audubon, Marcum Farms and performances by the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts.”