Since 2016, the Urban Ecosystem Project (NIH-SEPA R25 GM129210) has been using entomological inquiry in out-of-school settings to engage historically-underserved upper-elementary youth and their educators from communities and schools in the urban core of Des Moines, Iowa USA. Through our work we have developed the curiosity-based curriculum and responsive pedagogy of Mosquitoes & Me.
The Mosquitoes & Me Curriculum contains 28 lessons that are organized into three units and a curriculum extension (CE). These are 1. Mosquitoes & Biology, 2. Mosquitoes & Ecology, 3. Mosquitoes & Disease and CE. Mosquitoes & History. There are seven lessons in each unit and the CE contains seven additional history-based lessons that can be strategically integrated throughout.
Framework and Approach
The TriSC³i pedagogical framework of Mosquitoes & Me Curriculum (Richardson Bruna & Bartholomay, 2019) aligns Windschitl, Thompson, & Braaten’s (2018) Ambitious Science Teaching (AST) and Hernández-Sheets’ (2004) Diversity Pedagogy (DP) frameworks to illustrate how the principles and practices of discourse-oriented ambitious teaching naturally promote the diversity dimensions important to learner-centered instruction.
- Hernandez-Sheets, R. (2004). Diversity pedagogy: The role of culture in the teaching-learning process. Boston: Pearson.
- Windschitl, M., Thompson, J.J., and Braaten, M.L. (2018). Ambitious Science Teaching. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Synergist Sciencing (Richardson Bruna & Bartholomay, 2019) describes the co-learning approach of the Urban Ecosystem Project. It is one in which two audiences of learners – “young scientists” and “ambitious teachers” – engage together in the Mosquitoes & Me Summer Camp, acquiring science practices and expanding self-identities, through joint hands-on, project-based inquiry into mosquito biology, ecology, and disease prevention.
With climate change and its predicted effects on urban environments that suffer from histories of structural degradation, Mosquitoes & Me puts important entomological information into the hands of youth who can then act as agents and advocates of science communication and public health education in their homes and neighborhoods. To meet the challenges the future brings, we need new understandings of and approaches to science education that bring all young people into critical conversations. Mosquitoes & Me aims to prepare young scientists to be knowledgeable and responsible environmental stewards, as well as broader catalysts of community change.
A select sample of lessons from the Mosquitoes & Me Curriculum are available now.
Unit 1: Mosquitoes & Biology
- Sample lesson: What do humans and mosquitoes need to grow?
Unit 2: Mosquitoes & Ecology
Unit 3: Mosquitoes & Disease
- Sample lesson: How do mosquitoes impact humans in our local area?
Suggested Next Generation Science Standards
The Mosquitoes & Me Curriculum has potential to meet these suggested standards depending on the delivery context and need to meet local requirements.