Unit 9: Crop Pests

Close-up of aphids on a wheat leaf


This unit provides an overview of two major plant pests--insects and weeds--and how climate change may alter their impact on agricultural production. Students will collect and identify common agricultural pests.

Unit Placement in the Course: 

While this unit can stand alone, it is recommended to use it following the GPS unit (Unit 8) so that students can use previously acquired skills to create pest maps displaying the location and photographs of the pests they are collecting.

Required Supplies: 

Weed Collection & Identification Lab Activity:

  • Plant press
    • Inexpensive presses can be made from plywood, cardboard and compression straps. 
  • Newspaper or drying paper
  • Cardstock (for mounting plants)
  • Contact Paper or laminating film (for sealing in plant specimens)
  • Plant/weed field guide 
  • Optional:
    • GPS (Student cell phones may be able to do both GPS and photos) 
    • Digital Camera

Insect Collection & Identification Lab Activity:

Many pre-made versions of school insect collection kits are available commercially. Ordering items individually or manufacturing them yourself can save significant money. Some items to include in your kits include:

  • Bug Nets
  • Aspirators 
  • Collecting/kill Jars
  • Magnifying lenses
  • Insect pins
  • Display boxes or foam core poster board
  • Wax paper (for butterflies and moths)
  • ID Key
  • Insect field guide
Full Supply List...


Materials Provided: 

  • Three PowerPoint presentations
  • Teacher notes on most slides to help guide class discussion
  • Two collection lab activities
  • Readings on pests and climate change

Estimated Teaching Time: 

  • Minimum of five 50-minute class periods
  • Note that this unit can take more time if student collection and identification activities are conducted primarily during class time.