ABC's of Entomology

Florida 4-H curriculum helps youth understand the impacts insects have on humans.

The ABC's of Entomology is a new environmental/science classroom curriculum developed by Florida 4-H and the UF/IFAS Department of Entomology and Nematology. The 4-H in the Classroom curriculum targets youth ages 8 - 12, especially those in the 4th and 5th grades. This CD-ROM is designed to increase appreciation for insects, dispelling misconceptions about them, and decreasing general fear by providing opportunities for youth to interact with insects in a non-threatening way. The project is designed to stimulate critical and creative thinking, learn and apply scientific principles, and to develop life skills.

4-H members of North Central Florida attended a 4-H Expo
on the Alachua County Fair Grounds, where the children
participated in a 6-legged race, Insect Mouthparts
Mayhem, and an arthropod petting zoo.

The activities in each of the seven (7) project lessons strive to involve young people in experiences that require them to interact, analyze, question, reflect, and transfer what they have learned to personal application. The activity comes first, and the "learning" comes from the "discovery" of new knowledge and skills as a result of the experience. This is the 4-H "learn-by-doing" process.

During a 4-H Summer Camp, at the UF/IFAS Mid-Florida
Research and Education Center, in Apopka, Florida, children
participated in the Termite Trails activity, and Insect Mouthparts
Relay. Here students cooperate on the Termite Trails Activity.

As a school enrichment curriculum, The ABC's of Entomology complies with the Sunshine State Standards. Standards from five of the subject areas are applied in the ABC's of Entomology. The interdisciplinary curriculum includes activities that can be used in math, science, social studies, language arts, music and health. The curriculum is practical in many different educational settings, including 4-H day camps, after-school clubs, home school groups, museums and nature centers, scout troops as well as in formal school settings. Educators can either use the activities together as an entire unit, or independently to supplement other curricula.

The ABC's of Entomology was written by Alison Neeley (M.S. Entomology '02) and reviewed by Drs. Don Hall, John Capinera, and John Zenger of the UF/IFAS Entomology and Nematology Department; and Deb DePiatro and Betty Camp Dunckle of the Florida Museum of Natural History.

The ABC's of Entomology (SPEN 40) CD-ROM is available from UF/IFAS Bookstore,, or through the UF/IFAS Department of Entomology and Nematology For-Sale Publications site at

For more information, contact Dr. Joy Cantrell Jordan at or call (352) 846-1000 ext 259.

Thomas Fasulo is the newsletter editor. You can submit news anytime to Issues are published the middle of each month. Submit items for an issue by the 7th of that month. However, the detailed articles, such as this Web page, are edited by Hope Johnson ( and must be submitted before the first of the month for that month's HTML version only.

Return to the May 2008 issue.