Students explore their sense of smell and discover why smell is important to animals, including beetles and humans.
To get this activity, purchase it from Shop.PLT.org as part of the Sensational Trees activity collection and/or find out about professional development opportunities in your state.
Below are some supporting resources for this activity.
Expand your students’ learning and imaginations. Help students meet their reading goals, while building upon concepts learned in this activity, with the following children’s book recommendations:
The following tools and resources may be used to enhance the activity.
NGSS Correlations for “Peppermint Beetle”
Download “Peppermint Beetle” NGSS Correlations which includes a guiding question, science connections found in the activity, and explicit NGSS correlations. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) define what students should know or be able to do at the end of instruction. This activity provides students opportunities to explore the three dimensions of science to build knowledge and understanding. In addition, activities offer phenomenon-based learning, which involves exploring the real world through learner-centered, multidisciplinary investigations that promote inquiry and problem solving. It is a useful resource even if your state has not adopted NGSS.
Discover Inspiring Women in Science: Linda Buck
We all know Marie Curie, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize for pioneering research on radioactivity. But there are many more women scientists, mathematicians, and engineers who have made incredible advances in their fields. Beyond Curie is a celebration of 40 of these amazing women in STEM fields, including 16 Nobel Peace Prize winners. Each one has overcome countless challenges in the pursuit of knowledge, understanding, and impact. Use these posters to share their stories and inspire your students to consider a field in STEM. Pair this activity with a poster of Linda Buck.
A National PLT Outstanding Educator from Minnesota, Karen Christenson, created a student page for PLT’s PreK-8 Guide: Activity 3—Peppermint Beetle for use with students in grades K-3. In this activity, students explore their sense of smell and discover why smell is important to animals, including themselves. In the student worksheet, Inquiry is Observing, students are reminded that observing uses all of our senses, including our sense of smell. It asks students to observe their neighborhood and draw conclusions regarding the peppermint beetle’s interactions with its habitat.
Find Nearby Trails and Parks
AllTrails is a free app that helps users discover the outdoors. Use it to find a hiking path suitable for children, to search for local places to bike or fish, or to plan a national park visit.
Tips for Taking Students Outside
Friends of the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center has put together some short, simple, and practical recommendations to help effectively incorporate use of an outdoor classroom. Suggestions include finding an experienced mentor, scheduling a set time for taking students outdoors, and examining learning standards to see what are best taught outside.
How Sensitive is an Ant’s Sense of Smell?
A great EarthSky post for this topic is How sensitive is an ant’s sense of smell?