Teaching Science Through Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Pest Management In and Around Structures September 08, 2014 Print Friendly and PDF

IPM encourages people to apply a scientific way of thinking to real-world problems. The overarching goal of this curriculum is to prepare students to be informed, thoughtful, and proactive participants in the spaces they inhabit, including the classroom, school, and home. Students will learn that part of their participation involves careful inquiry so pests can be controlled in ways that promote their own and others’ health and well-being.

Such inquiry involves engagement with the core ideas, skills, and language of science addressed by the Next Generation Science Standards. The core scientific ideas covered by this IPM curriculum include the structure and function of living things, features of habitats, and the interdependent relationship of living things within ecosystems. Students will also practice using the scientific skills of gathering, sorting, and interpreting data as evidence to test claims. They will consider how evidence is important for making sound decisions about pests. The language demands required for successful, equitable participation in an IPM inquiry, including the linguistic structures for sharing ideas and communicating cause and effect, are also addressed in the lesson plans.

This curriculum is comprised of five lessons that were designed to work together as a stand-alone unit. In the first lesson, students consider what a pest is and why pests are problems. From there, students explore the properties of living things and the key features of insects and plants, which will help accurately identify common pests. The third lesson introduces habitats and the web of relationships between organisms. The last two lessons introduce the IPM steps through case studies and examinations of their classroom and school. All lessons were designed to have students documenting and sharing their thinking as much as possible.

Through this curriculum, students will be better prepared to promote and maintain a healthier classroom, school, and world. They’ll see bugs, plants, and environments differently. Hopefully, they’ll also be more inclined to clean up food messes!

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.