Assignment #2: Insect Scrapbook

Overview:

This assignment was given at the beginning of the semester in my Ent 201: Insects and People course and was due at the end of the semester.  I adapted the assignment from my mentor’s class and altered it in several significant ways.  My goal was for the students to identify the extent to which insects impact their own lives.  In my mentor’s course, he required students to find visual things with insects on them.  I believe this severely limited the project’s impact. I asked my students to capture their personal experiences as well as observations of other people’s interactions with insects.  This adaptation enabled my students to reflect more deeply on the impact insects have in their lives and reached the core goal of the class, which is to understand the extent that insects and people interact.  I intentionally left the assignment open-ended because it is meant to encourage students to keep their eyes open to everything around and push their creative juices further, rather than try to find some minimum number of examples.

ENT 201 “Insect Collection”/Bug Scrapbook –Spring 2013

The purpose of the bug scrapbook is to capture all of the moments when insects influence your life and the lives around you.  If you pay attention, you will begin to see how much influence insects have in everyday life.

The bug scrapbook is graded based on diversity of material and quality of presentation.  There is not a set list of individual things you must include.  However, you should include artifacts within each of the major categories listed below if you want to achieve all points.

  1. Visual (25%) – Visual artifacts that you find around you. Examples: insect toys, photos, magazine articles, etc.
  1. Experiential (25%) – This section is like a journal.  Anytime you encounter an insect either in real life or through the media, write about it.  Explain what happened and how it affected you.  For example, if you find an insect in your dorm room, how did you react?  If you find a media source, tell me where I can find it myself (i.e. television show name, season #, episode #).
  1. Interactions with other people (25%) – Observe how other people perceive insects.  Observe their interactions with insects.  How do other people react compared to you. You can be creative in this section and conduct surveys, interviews, or quiz people about their knowledge.

 

Presentation (25%) — This is based on creativity, neatness, and organization of your scrapbook.

Note: DO NOT FABRICATE experiences. This is about experiences you and those around you have with insects.  DO NOT go online to print off Wikipedia pages or other internet sources for information on insects.  It is not a research project.  Only include things you come across.

Insect Scrapbook Grading Rubric

Examples of Student Work:

Example1_scrapbook

Example2_Scrapbook

Example3_scrapbook

Example4_scrapbook

Example5_scrapbook

Reflection:

When I received my students’ scrapbooks, I was blown away by the amount of effort they put into the project.  Each scrapbook is completely unique to each student.  I was impressed by the depth of reflection captured in the scrapbooks as students described often emotional and even life-changing events that  involved insects.  Furthermore they also recognized some of the changes they were experiencing in how they perceived insects.  Many of them commented on how an insect would land on them or nearby and instead of freaking out like normal, they would find themselves trying to observe it and learn more about it.  They also frequently captured overreactions from other people around them that they admitted were the reactions similar to their own before the class began.  Some of my students even actively sought out new opportunities to experience entomology.  One student visited her mother’s kindergarten class and gave a presentation and ran activities centered around entomology.  Other students went to seminars on honey beekeeping, conducted surveys of their friends, and even interviewed people to understand other people’s perspectives on entomology.  This project promoted self-reflection and connected ideas I taught in class to real situations in their lives.

If I could repeat this project, I would adjust my rubric because I found it challenging to grade my students fairly and left some of them wondering what I expected.  Some students did exceptional in certain categories, but lacked any artifacts in other categories. This would result in a very poor score even if I felt they put in a great deal of effort and got the main point of the project.  I would adjust the rubric to have a base level of points that the students receive for turning in the assignment and then break each category into different point values.  In the end, I regraded the students who scored low based on this new system so it reflected the amount of effort they put into it more fairly.  To provide feedback, I wrote down every artifact I found divided into the appropriate category so they students could see what I counted. I would star artifacts that stood out as exceptional.  Then I gave overall comments.

Grading Examples:

Example1_Scrapbook: This is an example of a rubric for a poor scrapbook that I needed to adjust the rubric for to give a passing grade for the effort.

Example2_Scrapbookgrade: This is an example of a rubric for a good scrapbook. It worked well for this quality.

Example3_scrapbookgrade: This scrapbook was phenomenal in its diversity, quality of artifacts, and presentation.

 

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