INSECT FESTIVAL SCHOOL

Program Leader : Prof. Dr. Cem ÖZKAN
Age: 5-15 Years
Education Period: Half Day

We as a community do not have enough knowledge about insects, which are the biggest group of living things in the nature. And most of our information is about insects are beliefs, which make us, avoid, disgust and fear these living things. Insect Festival School (IFS) was established by Ankara University, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Plant Protection, and Entomology Section in 2008. The purpose of IFS is to prevent this negative behavior towards insects, which enlarges the gap between the community and the nature.

With IFS, we want to inform the community about the biggest group of living things in nature; insects, and to create insect awareness by making people more familiar with them.

The first activity carried out by IFS was the Ecology Training with insects at elementary school level. Afterwards this activity is started to be carried out to preschool (ages 5-6), mentally handicapped and secondary school level also. These trainings are executed by teaching staff of Ankara University, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Plant Protection, Entomology Section. The undergraduate, graduate and PhD students of our department make important contributions to this activity, which is considered as a social responsibility project.

These activities which are arranged for students and teachers show that insects, because of their numbers and importance; can provide excellent projects to introduce the community to science. Activities so far have proved that children possess a natural curiosity for insects and fright from insects can be prevailed, as it can be learned. This interest to insects can be used as an unlimited fuel to teach the science of ecology. Children are educated to develop a healthy behavior against insects, or at least they are thought t that not all insects are harmful. Additionally, these studies has shown that it is easy to integrate insects to the activities such as; photography, gardening, art and craft, reading, active games, computers and citizenship lessons.

Ecology Training with Insects at Elementary School Level
Because of their numbers and importance insects provide an excellent opportunity to introduce children to science. The natural curiosity and interest of children for insects can be used as a motivating factor and tool to teach science. The primary target group of “Ecology Training with Insects at Elementary School Level” program, which aims to improve the ecology consciousness and to encourage the children to scientific study by creating awareness on insects, is 5-15 years old children.

With this programs we aim to;
– Inform children on the subject of insects that form the biggest group of living things,
– Inform children about insect-human relationship,
– Make children passionate about exploring the scientific methods in a fun way by allowing them to observe interesting lives of insects,
– Lessen the children’s negative feelings such as fear and disgust, which usually based on false information, and to allow them to develop a healthy behavior towards insects,
– Improve consciousness about ecology by informing the participants about the importance of insects in food chain,

–  Increase the sensitivity of participants about the problems of ecological balance and provide means for applying the acquired insect awareness to daily life.
– This program, which aims to improve the ecology consciousness and to encourage the children for scientific study by creating awareness on insects, is one-day program, and is realized at schools during academic year.
–  With this project, the children will be encouraged to share the knowledge and skills about ecology, which they obtained by using insects, with their friends and family members, as well as applying them to their own lives

ACTIVITIES

Visual Presentations
Three visual presentations are included in “Ecology Training with Insects” program,
which is prepared in the concept of Insect Festival School. These are; poster
presentations, computer presentation and animation movies.

Visual Presentation 1 (Poster Presentations)
The subjects of poster presentations that have colorful insect pictures and
animations are; “Let’s Know the Insects”, “Benefits of Insects to Humans”, “Insect
Records” and “The Importance of Insects in Food Chain”.

Visual Presentation 2 (Computer Presentation)
Computer presentation is prepared with remarkable and interesting examples in
such a way to boost the curiosity of students.

Visual Presentation 3 (Animation Movies)
The subjects of the movies are chosen as the ecological relations, which give
information about the competition of insects such for food, water, mating, nesting or
protection

WORKSHOPS

Workshops are designed as group studies, which the students in the classroom are divided into groups of 5 or 6 by instructors. The activities in the workshops are prepared according to the concept, achievements, and the content of ecology related parts with curriculum. In these workshops, students are allowed to directly share and question the activities.

Insect collection at Ankara University, Faculty of Agriculture, Department of Plant Protection is used. It is inscripted to the student’s mind that the world of insects, which has been told theoretically, is compatible with the reality. Here, interesting, curious insect specimens with different sizes, shapes, colors and functions are visually described.

Students are allowed to examine directly or by magnifying glass, the specimens of harmful insects, the insects which we make use of their products (honey bee, silkworms etc.) and beneficial insects (parasitoids and predators); which they have only seen pictures of in theoretical lessons.