Insects bring class to life
David Hogg, Professor
Department of Entomology
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and LIfe Sciences
Phone (608) 262-4060
3:00 – Total Time
0:15 – Entomology 201
0:37 – Hands on with bugs
1:24 – Science comes to life
1:55 – Students react to experiences
2:31 – Insects as a career choice
2:52 – Lead out
Sevie Kenyon: Bringing the university class room to life. We’re visiting today with David Hogg Department of Entomology University of Wisconsin Madison in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and I’m Sevie Kenyon. David, can you explain to us what Entomology 201 is?
David Hogg: Entomology 201 is a general interest university level class and it actually has a title it’s Insects and Human Culture. We get about 150 students every semester, meets three times a week but we also have some hands on experiences that the students take part in.
Sevie Kenyon: David can you describe to us a little bit about the hands on experiences in 201?
David Hogg: There are two actual assignments. One is that every student has to raise an insect which is the tomato or tobacco horn worm, that big green worm that you see on your tomato plants during the summer. Each student has to raise one of those from the egg to the adult stage and keep a daily journal. The other project we have is students have to either have firsthand experience with honeybees, where we’ll suit them up in a protective bee suit, and I’ll take them out and we’ll look at a beehive, tear it apart and look at how the bees do their business. And the alternative to that is a field trip involving monarch butterflies. What monarchs do, the milkweed plants they eat, how they migrate south to Mexico every year.
Sevie Kenyon: and David how does this hands-on experience benefit the students?
David Hogg: It’s really turned out to be a powerful teaching tool. This hands-on experience opens their eyes to things that you just can’t convey in lecture. For example with the raising the hornworm, I can talk in lecture about what goes on when the insect is molting, they’ve seen it first hand, so they’ve seen the insect sort of lay on its side and do nothing but I can talk about all the things going on internally for that molt to happen. By experiencing it, it just makes it more real and something that they have more interest in.
Sevie Kenyon: And David how do the students react to these experiences?
David Hogg: Well, some of them are apprehensive about raising an insect but most of them end up giving their caterpillar a name and keeping it as a pet and their all disappointed when the caterpillar forms a pupa because then its gone and next thing you know a moth comes out. Same with the honey bee, some students are just absolutely terrified when they go out and experience these honey bees having thousands of bees flying around them. They are protected but it’s still unnerving to some of them. Afterwards they say “oh this has just been a fantastic experience.”
Sevie Kenyon: What kinds of career paths are available for people in the entomology field?
David Hogg: There are all kinds of jobs available. We have jobs both in industry and academia at all levels. Jobs in government, jobs in the private sector, one person we bring in every semester is a forensic entomologist who actually uses insects in court cases usually involving capital crime.
Sevie Kenyon: We’ve been visiting with David Hogg Department of Entomology University of Wisconsin Madison in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and I’m Sevie Kenyon.