The Vigo County Soil and Water Conservation District sponsors a program lasting three days each year (Sept. 14 – 16, in 2010) that covers various aspects of different conservation- environmental projects. In 2010 there were 18 schools, with approximately 1225 eleven-year-old students.
Our organization wished to contribute by assisting the individual classroom instructors in their science programs. We offered a program that we hoped would further stimulate an interest in the horticultural/life sciences.
Research was done to obtain information and biological terminology from contact with the Department of Biology at Indiana State University; we also utilized many computer web resources, primarily the University of Ohio and the University of Kentucky. From contact with several teachers, we developed a presentation geared to the student so that the methodology and terminology would be consistent with the students age level, interest, and would enhance the individual teachers’ science program.
Because this program was conducted in an open-sided building, this necessitated the use of flip charts and flash cards as opposed to a slide or power point presentation.
Due to the class size variations per session, we utilized a primary instructor with assistants per each session. This allowed us to present the material, have a question and answer period, plus a hands-on opportunity with the individual students. To obtain and hold the students immediate interest, we utilized various images of colorful butterflies, moths and their odd or bizarre large caterpillars (listed below). These images were found on different web sites, and we obtaining permission to use copyrighted material when necessary. The text and images were printed and hand glued to individual pages to create a seven-page flip chart.
To further peak their interest we only used those caterpillars that are found in Vigo County. Individual master gardeners searched their vegetable and flower gardens for the different live caterpillars we could use. We had on hand each day several examples of at least three species of the caterpillars discussed, and during the hands-on period allowed those students interested to examine, touch and handle the different caterpillars.