Educational Materials

This page contains links to the printed materials I have developed for the Biosphere II and other organizations. It is my intention to archive these materials so that they will remain accessible to the pubic as long as people are interested in them. Click on a link below to view the file. You will need a PDF reader to view them.  I use Adobe Reader.

Beginner’s Guide to Porch Light Insects

A guide to the insects you might find at a porch light (or apartment building light or streetlight or…) at night!  This is a simple guide that will help you narrow down the things you see to an insect order.  It’s meant to be a jumping off point for a deeper exploration of porch light insects!

I also have a companion worksheet that will help guide children through porch light insect observations with the help of the Beginner’s Guide.

Dragonfly Identification Guide

This guide focuses on the dragonflies and damselflies that are commonly found near small bodies of still water (i.e. ponds) in the Sonoran Desert region. It is a basic guide and meant to be an introduction to the species that are found in abundance rather than a comprehensive list. It will not be as useful to people outside of the Sonoran Desert region.  The guide was created for the Biosphere 2 as part of an educational display focusing on aquatic insects of the Sonoran Desert.

Aquatic Insect ID Guide

This guide focuses on the aquatic insects typically found in ponds in the Sonoran Desert region of Arizona. It does, however, contain basic information about several common pond insect species that may be of use to people from other regions. Guide created for the Biosphere 2 as part of an educational display focusing on aquatic insects of the Sonoran Desert.

Insect Collection Tutorials

Part of my Collecting Insects series!  Click on a tutorial listed below, then click on the file name on the next page to view, save, or print the PDF version of the tutorial.

— How to Make an Insect Kill Jar
— A Simple Net for Collecting Aquatic Insects
— Preserving Insects in Hand Sanitizer
— Scanning Dragonflies
Making a Kick Net by Hand

Other Tutorials

Bee House No. 2  A simple, elegant house to attract native bees in your yard!
Beaded Dragonflies For my crafty readers out there, I’ve created instructions for a simple beaded dragonfly.  WARNING: The instructions are handwritten/drawn, so this is not a fancy pattern.  :)

Photography information

Cell Phone Photography 101  I take a lot of photos with my iPhone and have learned a lot about what cell phone cameras are capable of in the process.  I’ve gathered some tips to help others make the most of their phone’s capabilities!  This is a handout for a class I teach periodically at the museum where I work.


I periodically post lesson plans on my blog. You may find printable copies of the lessons and any associated handouts here!

— Aquatic Insects as Indicators of Water Quality


11 thoughts on “Educational Materials

      • I love your site–stumbled onto it while researching giant water bugs for a column I write. I teach as well–high school biology and environmental science–mostly environmental science these days. Coming from a research background I see the importance of each field–teaching tends to be vastly under-appreciated and not respected in this country, so thanks for recognizing its importance!

  1. Pingback: In Love With Bugs « The Education Cafe

  2. Okay. I made the soup strainer net and my first scoop today at a pond brought out a caddisfly larvae encased in little sticks. I would like to show it to others in the future. What should I do with it? I put him I a little plastic jar with pond water. Should I get rid of the water and let him die or should I start working on the kill jar?

    • Gah! I somehow missed this comment! Sorry about that… If you want to preserve any future caddisflies, the best thing to do is drop them into a little container of alcohol (rubbing or ethyl both work) and then replace the alcohol occasionally. That should preserve your specimen for quite some time. However, a lot of people don’t care much about the bugs inside and really just want to preserve the case. If that’s the case, once the caddisfly dies (or you kill it in alcohol), you can pull the larva out and then just let the case dry. Hope this helps!

  3. Pingback: Nine Summer Activities for Families That Get the Kids Out the Door - Overcoming School

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