Special Issue "Arthropod Education"

A special issue of Insects (ISSN 2075-4450).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2017).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Ron Wagler
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Associate Professor of Science Education, STEM Education Division, Founder and Director of the Living Arthropod and Environmental Education Laboratory, The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), El Paso, USA
Interests: arthropod education; living arthropod curriculum development; the development of new arthropod captive breeding techniques; environmental education; the sixth mass extinction
Dr. Doug Golick
E-Mail Website
Co-Guest Editor
Assistant Professor of Entomology, Department of Entomology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE, USA
Interests: arthropod education; discipline-based education research; pollinator conservation; science literacy; citizen science programming; science communication

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Arthropods make up approximately 75% of all known species. Even though the majority of Earth’s species are arthropods very little research has been conducted to assess the use of arthropods in educational settings until recently. Research in arthropod education addresses the use of arthropods or information about arthropods in any formal or informal educational setting. The field of arthropod education research is a new area of study where meaningful and relevant scholarship is being conducted. This special issue will focus on research that addresses any aspect of arthropod education and will bring together the top experts in the field.

Dr. Ron Wagler
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Insects is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • arthropod education
  • entomology education
  • arachnid education
  • crustacean education
  • science education
  • anthrozoology

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Article
Don’t Know Much about Bumblebees?—A Study about Secondary School Students’ Knowledge and Attitude Shows Educational Demand
Insects 2018, 9(2), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects9020040 - 10 Apr 2018
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2747
Abstract
Many insects are threatened with extinction, which in the case of pollinating insects could lead to declining pollination services and reduced ecosystem biodiversity. This necessitates rethinking how we deal with nature in general. Schools are ideal places in which to instill a willingness [...] Read more.
Many insects are threatened with extinction, which in the case of pollinating insects could lead to declining pollination services and reduced ecosystem biodiversity. This necessitates rethinking how we deal with nature in general. Schools are ideal places in which to instill a willingness to behave in an environmentally-friendly way. Whereas scientific studies and school textbooks stress the importance of honeybees as pollinators, the role of bumblebees is either underestimated or neglected. The aim of this study was to provide information concerning student knowledge and attitudes, which are important factors of an individual’s environmental awareness. A questionnaire with closed and open questions was developed, which also included drawing and species identification tasks. We surveyed 870 German secondary school students between 9 and 20 years of age. Our results indicate limited knowledge of bumblebees by students of all grades. Knowledge increased with higher grades but only with a small effect size. The attitude of students towards bumblebees was generally positive; however, this positivity declined with increasing grade of the participants. This correlation also had a small effect size. Our results are discussed, with a particular focus on future educational demand. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arthropod Education)
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Article
The Six-Legged Subject: A Survey of Secondary Science Teachers’ Incorporation of Insects into U.S. Life Science Instruction
Insects 2018, 9(1), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects9010032 - 14 Mar 2018
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2310
Abstract
To improve students’ understanding and appreciation of insects, entomology education efforts have supported insect incorporation in formal education settings. While several studies have explored student ideas about insects and the incorporation of insects in elementary and middle school classrooms, the topic of how [...] Read more.
To improve students’ understanding and appreciation of insects, entomology education efforts have supported insect incorporation in formal education settings. While several studies have explored student ideas about insects and the incorporation of insects in elementary and middle school classrooms, the topic of how and why insects are incorporated in secondary science classrooms remains relatively unexplored. Using survey research methods, this study addresses the gap in the literature by (1) describing in-service secondary science teachers’ incorporation of insects in science classrooms; (2) identifying factors that support or deter insect incorporation and (3) identifying teachers’ preferred resources to support future entomology education efforts. Findings indicate that our sample of U.S. secondary science teachers commonly incorporate various insects in their classrooms, but that incorporation is infrequent throughout the academic year. Insect-related lesson plans are commonly used and often self-created to meet teachers’ need for standards-aligned curriculum materials. Obstacles to insect incorporation include a perceived lack of alignment of insect education materials to state or national science standards and a lack of time and professional training to teach about insects. Recommendations are provided for entomology and science education organizations to support teachers in overcoming these obstacles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arthropod Education)
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Article
Eight-Legged Encounters—Arachnids, Volunteers, and Art help to Bridge the Gap between Informal and Formal Science Learning
Insects 2018, 9(1), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects9010027 - 26 Feb 2018
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3082
Abstract
Increased integration and synergy between formal and informal learning environments is proposed to provide multiple benefits to science learners. In an effort to better bridge these two learning contexts, we developed an educational model that employs the charismatic nature of arachnids to engage [...] Read more.
Increased integration and synergy between formal and informal learning environments is proposed to provide multiple benefits to science learners. In an effort to better bridge these two learning contexts, we developed an educational model that employs the charismatic nature of arachnids to engage the public of all ages in science learning; learning that aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS Disciplinary Core Ideas associated with Biodiversity and Evolution). We created, implemented, and evaluated a family-focused, interactive science event—Eight-Legged Encounters (ELE)—which encompasses more than twenty modular activities. Volunteers facilitated participant involvement at each activity station and original artwork scattered throughout the event was intended to attract visitors. Initial ELE goals were to increase interest in arachnids and science more generally, among ELE participants. In this study, we tested the efficacy of ELE in terms of (i) activity-specific visitation rates and self-reported interest levels, (ii) the self-reported efficacy of our use of volunteers and original artwork on visitor engagement, and (iii) self-reported increases in interest in both spiders and science more generally. We collected survey data across five ELE events at four museum and zoo sites throughout the Midwest. We found that all activities were successful at attracting visitors and capturing their interest. Both volunteers and artwork were reported to be effective at engaging visitors, though likely in different ways. Additionally, most participants reported increased interest in learning about arachnids and science. In summary, ELE appears effective at engaging the public and piquing their interest. Future work is now required to assess learning outcomes directly, as well as the ability for participants to transfer knowledge gain across learning environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arthropod Education)
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Article
Interest in Insects: The Role of Entomology in Environmental Education
Insects 2018, 9(1), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects9010026 - 23 Feb 2018
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1971
Abstract
University-based outreach programs have a long history of offering environmental education programs to local schools, but often these lessons are not evaluated for their impact on teachers and students. The impact of these outreach efforts can be influenced by many things, but the [...] Read more.
University-based outreach programs have a long history of offering environmental education programs to local schools, but often these lessons are not evaluated for their impact on teachers and students. The impact of these outreach efforts can be influenced by many things, but the instructional delivery method can affect how students are exposed to new topics or how confident teachers feel about incorporating new concepts into the classroom. A study was conducted with a series of university entomology outreach programs using insects as a vehicle for teaching environmental education. These programs were used to assess differences between three of the most common university-based outreach delivery methods (Scientist in the Classroom, Teacher Training Workshops, and Online Curriculum) for their effect on student interest and teacher self-efficacy. Surveys administered to 20 fifth grade classrooms found that the delivery method might not be as important as simply getting insects into activities. This study found that the lessons had a significant impact on student interest in environmental and entomological topics, regardless of treatment. All students found the lessons to be more interesting, valuable, and important over the course of the year. Treatment also did not influence teacher self-efficacy, as it remained high for all teachers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arthropod Education)
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Article
In Their Own Words: The Significance of Participant Perceptions in Assessing Entomology Citizen Science Learning Outcomes Using a Mixed Methods Approach
Insects 2018, 9(1), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects9010016 - 06 Feb 2018
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2510
Abstract
A mixed methods study was used to transcend the traditional pre-, post-test approach of citizen science evaluative research by integrating adults’ test scores with their perceptions. We assessed how contributory entomology citizen science affects participants’ science self-efficacy, self-efficacy for environmental action, nature relatedness [...] Read more.
A mixed methods study was used to transcend the traditional pre-, post-test approach of citizen science evaluative research by integrating adults’ test scores with their perceptions. We assessed how contributory entomology citizen science affects participants’ science self-efficacy, self-efficacy for environmental action, nature relatedness and attitude towards insects. Pre- and post-test score analyses from citizen scientists (n = 28) and a control group (n = 72) were coupled with interviews (n = 11) about science experiences and entomological interactions during participation. Considering quantitative data alone, no statistically significant changes were evident in adults following participation in citizen science when compared to the control group. Citizen scientists’ pre-test scores were significantly higher than the control group for self-efficacy for environmental action, nature relatedness and attitude towards insects. Interview data reveal a notable discrepancy between measured and perceived changes. In general, citizen scientists had an existing, long-term affinity for the natural world and perceived increases in their science self-efficacy, self-efficacy for environmental action, nature relatedness and attitude towards insects. Perceived influences may act independently of test scores. Scale instruments may not show impacts with variances in individual’s prior knowledge and experiences. The value of mixed methods on citizen science program evaluation is discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arthropod Education)
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Article
Fear and Disgust of Spiders: Factors that Limit University Preservice Middle School Science Teachers
Insects 2018, 9(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects9010012 - 29 Jan 2018
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1777
Abstract
Spiders perform many essential ecological services, yet humans often experience negative emotions toward spiders. These emotions can lead to the avoidance of beneficial events. These emotions may affect beliefs about what should or should not be included in a science curriculum. This study [...] Read more.
Spiders perform many essential ecological services, yet humans often experience negative emotions toward spiders. These emotions can lead to the avoidance of beneficial events. These emotions may affect beliefs about what should or should not be included in a science curriculum. This study investigated how activities with living spiders affected preservice middle school science teachers’ emotions and beliefs. Prior to the activities both groups (i.e., treatment and control) had moderate to extreme fear and disgust toward the spider. The teachers that participated in the spider activities (i.e., treatment group) had much lower levels of fear and disgust after performing the spider activities than the control group that did not participate in the spider activities. The control group continued to have elevated levels of fear and disgust toward the spider throughout the study. Before the spider activities neither group planned to incorporate information about spiders or information about the essential ecological services of spiders into their science classroom. After the treatment group participated in the spider activities, the teachers had definitive plans to teach their students about spiders and the essential ecological services that they provide. The control group remained unchanged and had no plans to teach this information to their students. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arthropod Education)
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Article
The Vivarium: Maximizing Learning with Living Invertebrates—An Out-of-School Intervention Is more Effective than an Equivalent Lesson at School
Insects 2018, 9(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects9010003 - 02 Jan 2018
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2808
Abstract
The introduction of living invertebrates into the classroom was investigated. First, possible anchor points for a lesson with living invertebrates are explored by referring to the curriculum of primary/secondary schools and to out-of-school learning. The effectiveness of living animals for increasing interest, motivation, [...] Read more.
The introduction of living invertebrates into the classroom was investigated. First, possible anchor points for a lesson with living invertebrates are explored by referring to the curriculum of primary/secondary schools and to out-of-school learning. The effectiveness of living animals for increasing interest, motivation, and achievement in recent research is discussed. Next, the Vivarium, an out-of-school learning facility with living invertebrates, is described. The effects of an intervention study with living invertebrates on achievement are then investigated at school (School condition) and out of school (University condition); a third group served as a control condition. The sample consisted of 1861 students (an age range of 10–12 years). Invertebrate-inspired achievement was measured as pre-, post-, and follow-up-tests. Measures of trait and state motivation were applied. The nested data structure was treated with three-level analyses. While achievement generally increased in the treatment groups as compared to the control group, there were significant differences by treatment. The University condition was more effective than the School condition. Achievement was positively related to conscientiousness/interest and negatively to tension. The study concludes that out-of-school learning offers achievement gains when compared to the same treatment implemented at school. The outlook focuses on further research questions that could be implemented with the Vivarium. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arthropod Education)
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