As a high school or undergraduate Biological Sciences teacher, you can use these set of computer-based tools to help you in teaching about insects, insect biodiversity and the impact of climate change on insects and insect behavior.
The lesson plan allows students to study about insects and the role they play in the ecosystem. The students will be able to link the impact climate change has on the existence as well as behavior of insects. The hands-on activity will enable the students to understand the impact of changing temperature on insect behavior.
Thus, this lesson plan helps to integrate the teaching of a climate science topic with a core topic in the Biological Sciences.
Use this lesson plan to help your students find answers to:
- What are insects? What roles do they play in the ecosystem?
- What are the possible impacts of climate change on insects?
- What are the possible impacts of climate change on insect behavior?
Teacher-contributed lesson plan by Dr. Namita Nayyar, Assistant Professor, Sri Venkateswara College (University of Delhi), India.
Want to know more about how to contribute? Contact us.
About Lesson Plan
|Grade Level||High school, Undergraduate|
|Topic(s) in Discipline||Insects, Arthropods, Ecology,
Animal Behavior, Insect Behavior
Insect Biodiversity, Food Web, Food Security
Invasive Species, Vector-borne Diseases
Impact of temperature variation on Insects
|Climate Topic||Climate and the Biosphere|
|A reading that introduces the biology and ecology of insects.|
|A report that links the impact of climate change on insect populations.|
|A reading that describes altered insect behavior in response to temperature fluctuations.
(Read only Page 42-43: Main concepts and Skills)
|Classroom /Laboratory Activity
|A hands-on classroom/laboratory activity to study insect responses (behavior) to temperature variations.
Here is a step-by-step guide to using this lesson plan in the classroom/laboratory. We have suggested these steps as a possible plan of action. You may customize the lesson plan according to your preferences and requirements.
Step 1: Topic introduction and discussion (Go to the Reading)
- Use this reading, ‘Insect Biology and Ecology: A Primer’, by Anthony Shelton, Professor of Entomology, Cornell University, to introduce the topic of insects.
- First, discuss its classification within Class Insecta, Phylum Arthropoda.
- Next, use the reading to explain basic insect anatomy and insect growth and development.
- Deliberate upon the different types of insects (bugs, mosquitoes, houseflies, grasshoppers, spiders, etc.) to highlight the existence of a vast variety of insects in the biosphere.
- Discuss the roles that insects play in the ecosystem (pollinators, commercial importance, natural enemy of pests, scavengers, etc.). Thus, explain the importance of maintaining a balance in the insect populations for the wellbeing of an ecosystem.
- Finally, stress on the delicately balanced interactions and the inter-dependence of insects and the environment that are ubiquitous in the natural world.
Step 2 : Explain the link between climate change and insects (Go to the Reading)
- Use the report, ‘Climate-Change Impact on Insects 'Simply Cannot be Ignored’’, by the Entomological Society of America, to discuss the findings of several studies on the impacts of climate change on insect survival.
- Begin by discussing a study that has reported a dramatic loss of insect populations in Puerto Rico’s Luquillo rainforest over a span of approximately 35 years. Highlight the associated decline in the population of lizards, frogs, etc. that consume arthropods and therefore, the intrinsic balance within food webs.
- Compare this study with other studies mentioned in the report.
- Explain the adverse impacts of climate related rapid decline in the global insect populations on insect biodiversity, food security, vector-borne diseases, invasive species, etc.
- Finally, facilitate a discussion among the students about the urgency of finding solutions to this problem as climate change can affect global biodiversity.
Step 3 : Discuss the possible effect of global warming on insect behavior (Go to the Reading)
- Use the reading, ‘Interesting Insects’ (Chapter 1, Lesson 3, Pages 42-43: Main Concepts and Skills) from ‘Integrating Climate Change Issues in Southeast Asian Schools; A Teachers’ Guide’ by Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO), to understand the implications of climate change related increase in the average temperature of the Earth on insect behavior.
- Explain to your students how environmental temperature variations can show an immediate effect on insect behavior due to their cold-blooded physiology.
- Also discuss the long-term effects of varying temperatures on insect populations such as changes in insect phenology and life cycles.
- Note: Read only Page 42-43: Main concepts and Skills from the suggested reading.
Step 4 : Classroom/Laboratory Activity (Go to the Activity, Page 48)
- Use this laboratory activity, ‘Interesting Insects’ (Chapter 1, Lesson 3, Page 48: A COLD BLOODED BUG’s LIFE) from ‘Integrating Climate Change Issues in Southest Asian Schools; A Teachers’ Guide’ by SEAMEO, to investigate the immediate responses of insects to varying external temperatures.
- Using the worksheet provided, direct your students to firstly collect all relevant material and follow the instructions for the experiments.
- Ask your students to record all their observations of insect responses to temperature changes. F
- Finally, use the ‘Guide Questions’ to analyze the observations on changes in insect behavior due to temperature variations.