New introductions to invasive mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, increase the risk for vector-borne diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, and Zika in the United States. Tracking these new introductions is more important than ever. This lesson plan focuses on the collection of mosquito larvae and pupae before the onset of summer with a focus on insect development. Students will observe the immature mosquitoes grow and metamorphose into adults. Novel aspects include collecting larvae and pupae around the home/school, observing the mosquito life cycle by safely rearing them from immature stages (larvae and pupae) to adults, and learning important background information on mosquito biology and pathogens that mosquitoes can transmit. The lesson describes new tools to use with the Invasive Mosquito Project, an international citizen science–based mosquito surveillance program exploring mosquitoes and the pathogens they may transmit to interested community members (including students and teachers) and their companion animals. This project is a stand-alone or follow-up lesson plan to the mosquito egg collection lesson used prior to the onset of winter (see Cohnstaedt et al., 2016). Students are able to participate in a hands-on tutorial to build a sealed emergence chamber to safely raise mosquitoes. Long-term data sets can also be used by teachers and students for further classroom discussions on the risks of mosquito-borne illnesses nationwide. This lesson further focuses on how individuals must play an active role in protecting their communities and pets from illness and increasing awareness of the dangerous pathogens mosquitoes can transmit and the importance of mosquito management. Materials from this lesson plan (available at http://www.citizenscience.us) can be adapted for each classroom but are best-suited for middle school to high school classes, as well as Advanced Placement classes.
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Vol. 84 • No. 4