Bug-Eyed First Graders Take a Look at the Lives of Insects
Allen, Kari, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Kari Allen Daily Herald Staff Writer
First graders at Ellsworth Elementary School already know what an entomologist is.
Kids who have visited Morton Arboretum have learned they could become forensic entomologists or scientific illustrators.
That's because area schools and other facilities are teaching kids a lot about insects.
Kids are catching and inspecting insects as they have done for years, but today's lessons go way beyond putting lightning bugs in a jar.
Area educators and scientists are teaching youngsters about the important role insects play in the environment and why people study them way beyond school.
Similarly, the arboretum aims to teach students about careers available to people with an interest in insects, said Elizabeth Fedofsky, the arboretum's coordinator of youth programs.
The Lisle facility describes familiar jobs, such as pest controllers, beekeepers and entomologists, as well as rarer careers, too. Scientific illustrators, for instance, draw insects for books, while forensic entomologists study larva and maggots at crime scenes.
"There're so many different areas you could go into," Fedofsky said.
Local educators want students to know about those options. Educators hope to spark a passion in insects because, they say, insects are so important to the environment.
Ellsworth first-graders have been learning about entomologists as they're working through a unit on insects. They've also talked about how insects help in the development of certain medicines. Teacher Kathy Schoengrund knows not all her students will end up studying insects after they leave school. But some might.
"Our principle is to put as much (information) as we can out there," she said. "For some kids, this might become a lifelong passion. …