My capstone revolves around the inquiry of how to remove the negative stigma around bugs and other exotic animals. Going hand in hand with that idea, having an understanding of them would bring awareness to the way we treat the world, which ends up actively affecting the animals and us. Then, I realized that it may be due to a lack of exposure from an early age. Personally from a young age, having these fears inflicted upon myself was a roadblock. Only now developing an understanding of these animals, I wish that I would have learned about them earlier. That encourages my goal of reaching out to younger children. Having an interactive game that incorporates fun facts about said animals will hopefully lead it to become a more embracing subject. During the process of creating this game, I tossed many ideas away trying to find a balance between facts and the idea of it being engaging for the kids. Something that I realized is that when a topic is seen as interesting, the likelihood of it being memorized is much higher. This is when the idea of creating a board game for the two kindergarten classes at D. Newlin Fell Elementary School striked me. Researching the topic of the science behind joyful learning, these games will be incorporated into their play area. As the name suggests, doing so will allow them to gain knowledge each time they play the game. Doing this capstone gave me the realization that people are simply afraid of what they are ignorant of.
“Animals in Educational Settings: Research and Practice.” NeuroImage, Academic Press, 22 May 2015, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128012925000146. This is an excerpt from the book Animals in Educational Settings: Research and Practice. Something that this informs is what live animals can provide in typical education settings along with special needs education throughout the age group of preschool and eighth grade. Throughout this book, with the exception of not including invasive animal species, the fact that an incorporation of animal interactions gives children a sense of support and can be therapeutic. Being able to have an exposure to this can even lead to having a healthier adult life. This shows that a part of the reason why there is such a fear of exotic animals such as bugs is simply due to the fact that there is a lack of exposure in it, even in the STEM fields.
Barash, David P. “Why Did Humans Evolve to Be so Fascinated with Other Animals? – David P Barash | Aeon Essays.” Aeon, Aeon, 25 Jan. 2019, aeon.co/essays/why-did-humans-evolve-to-be-so-fascinated-with-other-animals. This is a website on animal magnetism through providing an excerpt from David P. Barash’s book Through A Glass Brightly, discussing why humans are so drawn to animals in the first place. Maybe it comes from the desire to see things that we cannot see on a normal basis, animals in other continents for example are not as easily attainable to view unless they are through a screen or if you actually travel there. Something that I noticed is that this website only mentioned the mammals at the zoo, excluding the bugs and even reptiles. It seems that there is a reputation and certain emotions associated with certain animals. A conclusion that was made is that this fascination could have stemmed from humans being dependent on animals, but the question of why it lead us to being captivated by animal-watching made me realize that this question is something that I want to look into during my own research.
“Benefits of Insects.” Mealworm Metamorphosis: Effect of Temperature (Development) | Entomology | Nebraska, entomology.unl.edu/scilit/benefits-insects. This website is based on research from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, from their Science Literacy and Outreach Department. The variety of information provided is all of the different ways that these bugs help us and the world that we live in, whether it is with pollinating or serving as our decomposers. All of this information is useful since it is a large part of my interactive activity, the goal of it enlightening people on the positive benefits that they provide. With things such as even running out of spaces to put our trash and waste, some of these insects help eat dead animals (carrion), therefore freeing up space.
Fritscher, Lisa, and Steven Gans. “How Do People Cope With a Fear of Insects?” Verywell Mind, Dotdash, www.verywellmind.com/what-is-the-fear-of-insects-2671770. This is a website by Lisa Fritscher on entomophobia stems from. Something that she mentioned is the fact that people who do not typically encounter bugs see them often on different forms of entertainment depicted as something that is humorous yet depicts fear. Especially from those who have a lack of interaction of insects in nature, it is a human instinct for survival to question the things that are unfamiliar to them. This is where paranoia then comes in, with being afraid of contamination, being bitten, infestation, just being ways to precaution. A way that this is helpful showing how to counter these fears with true facts that will help ease the audience.
“Honey Bee Colony Losses 2017-2018: Preliminary Results.” Bee Informed Partnership, May 23rd, 2018, beeinformed.org/results/honey-bee-colony-losses-2017-2018-preliminary-results/. This is a website from the organization Bee Informed Partnership with support from the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. It provides the statistics on the decline of honey bees in the United States, studying their health by looking at the growth of different colonies. Something that this proves is the danger there is when it comes to the decline in these colonies since we need them in order to get the food that we eat, they are our biggest pollinators. With the bad reputation of wasps that people mistaken with honeybees, some initial reactions are the kill the insect. Although, by continuing to provide information to people on the fact that they are actually harmless, people will slowly stop and instead use that effort that they have into helping.
McMahon, Frances Nankin and Jesse. “Helping Children Overcome a Fear of Bugs.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 12 Apr. 2017, www.pbs.org/parents/expert-tips-advice/2017/04/helping-children-overcome-fear-bugs/. This is a website provided by PBS to parents for advice on how to allow children to overcome their fear of bugs. Here, there is an acknowledgement that having a fear such as this builds barriers for children who want to explore, but this fear prevents them from doing so. Some of the techniques that they mentioned is explaining that some of the bugs that may seem scary are actually harmless, think about their own reaction, and make it more of a common topic to talk about. This intrigued me because one of factors why I feel as though kids are afraid of bugs is because their parents are and may share this similar mindset.
Miniland. “The Benefits of Interactive Games for Children.” Blog about Educational Toys and Trends in Early Childhood Education, Miniland Educational, 7 Mar. 2017, usa.minilandeducational.com/family/the-benefits-of-interactive-games-for-children. This website was created to provide the best means of learning styles when it comes to children, touching on the topic of interactive games. It provides an explanation on the fact that children generally lose their span of attention in a matter of minutes. Having a game that can also include competition will give them a sense of entertainment, making them feel as though they want to learn, versus that they are being forced to. Not only that but it also helps their motor skills to think in certain situations and build relationships with others while working on that specific game. Using this knowledge, it gives me an idea of how I would like to make my activity, possibly leading into something that requires teamwork.
“Nature vs. Nurture.” GoodTherapy.org - Find the Right Therapist, GoodTherapy.org Therapy Blog, 28 Sept. 2018, www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/nature-versus-nurture. This is a website from Good Therapy, discussing nature in comparison to nurture and the differences, although that they both affect mental health. A big question is when people start developing these fears such as insects in the first place. Something that is debated on is that in some occasions, children are blatantly brave when it comes to insects since many things are new to them, and curiosity being a natural thing that occurs. Although sometimes this leads into it being a fear of what they do not know of instead. With the topic on nurture, even if they may be curious, growing up around people or the idea that bugs are harmful and scary, whether it is in media or surrounding people, will influence that mindset into something that is rather entirely different.
Romm, Cari. “Insects Are Scary Because Your Brain Confuses Disgust With Fear.” The Cut, The Cut, 31 Oct. 2016, www.thecut.com/2016/10/why-are-so-many-people-scared-of-bugs.html. This is a website by Cari Romm from The Cut on why there is such a prominent fear when it comes to bugs. A claim that she made is that people commonly mistaken disgust for fear. She brought up a point that even an ecologist like Jeffrey Lockwood who works with bugs, had a panic attack when he was encountered with a swarm of grasshoppers, the amount and behavior of them overwhelming him. A part of this is knowing that there are certain bugs that do cause harm, bringing people to the conclusion that all bugs are harmful in their own sense. Along with that is the idea that there is something programmed in humans called a “rejection response” since these animals are not cuddly nor fuzzy, some of the few traits that people associate with cuteness. It is said to be that when things are seen as cute, people feel a need to protect it. Knowing these certain phrases from psychologists will provide me with another branch of information that I could continue my research in.
“The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University.” Butterfly Life Cycle, ansp.org/visit/activities/#meet. This is the official website of The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University containing the different types of activities in the museum revolved around children, where they can meet the scientists and have animal encounters. This source is useful because it gave the realization that many people have the ideology that creepy crawlers, even that name has a negative connotation itself, but when it is presented to them in person, a feeling of fascination takes over. In a sense it is the fear of the unknown that spurs this feeling of uncomfort out from people. Along with that, it gave me different ideas of what can be included during my presentation at school, where I would want to be able to present an animal. Once granted the permission to do so, having a bug in person may also teach the audience to be interested in these animals, setting back their fear.