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Hey Teachers! Bring the Fascinating World of Local Vectors to Your Classroom.

A classroom with students and a teacher, a presentation on the mosquito life cycle in the background.

“Whoa! They look like they’re fighting!”

“No, they’re dancing!”

“I see something orange moving at the front of that one’s head.”

“I noticed there’s a pointy thing sticking up from their tails.”

“What’s that moving inside its body?”

These are just some of the enthusiastic comments our Education Program Specialist hears from kids when she magnifies live mosquito larvae 40x and projects them onto a large screen in an elementary school classroom. Following this revelatory scientific observation (in which at least half the class discovers for the first time in their lives that those little wrigglers they’ve seen in the wagon they left out in the rain are actually baby bloodsuckers), the group will take a deep dive into the growth and development of the mosquito, and examine its ecological niche and the structure and function of its various adaptations. Students and teachers alike find these hour-long lessons surprisingly delightful and informative. The learning continues for the next one to two weeks as children observe the complete metamorphosis of a local mosquito species inside a clear plastic “emergence cage” that is loaned to each classroom. The kids make scientific sketches, graphs, and complete activity pages in the observation journals provided, but most importantly, they go home and look for standing water around their homes to dump it out so mosquitoes can’t reproduce there.  

This program teaches students about the biology, ecology, and control of local vectors. (A vector is any insect or animal that may cause harm or transmit disease). The education program also informs the public about the District's services, and strives to foster students’ interest in entomology and ecology.

Although teaching life science concepts is valuable in itself, another important reason for our education program is to create an army of knowledgeable, vigilant “junior vector inspectors” who have free time and the inclination to go out and eliminate mosquito breeding sources in their backyards. And if their backyard also happens to be really close to your backyard, you have these young heroes to thank for reducing your risk of contracting a mosquito-borne disease like West Nile virus, reducing your dog’s risk of getting heartworm, and alleviating the nuisance of having mosquitoes in your neighborhood. The more awareness of these hazards we can raise, the better off we all are! Ask your local elementary school if they know about MSMVCD’s free Vector Education Program.

If you are a teacher and would like to schedule a free classroom presentation, click here:

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