Grade Levels
6-8 9-12
Authors / Developers
Central Arizona Phoenix LTER
Time Required
2-3 50 min periods
Teaching Tips
Activity is specific to the collection of pods from the Palo verde tree but could be easily adapted to encourage students to collect data from trees nearby their schoolyard homes parks or forests. Educator should investigate in advance target locations for presence of blue palo verde trees. Powerpoint presentation mentioned in the resources section should be used during the initial parts of the activity - it has good photos of the target tree and beetles that will be helpful to students in their observations Would be great if students had the opportunity to interact with and query LTER scientists after they have analyzed and submitted their data.
About The Science
This is a hands-on citizen science activity in which students gather and examine seed pods from blue palo verde trees for evidence of bruchid beetle infestation. Using a protocol and data sheet provided buy the Central Arizona Phoenix LTER student upload their data on the site website where it is added to data provided by other students and scientists. Palo verde trees are native to the desert and are now common in urban desert landscaping. Bruchid beetles lay eggs on the pods and the larvae feed on the seeds. Urban palo verde trees are watered and fertilized often isolated from other palo verde trees and mixed together with other non-native tree species. All these variables can influence the bruchid beetles. Through this study students compare how beetle populations in urban and/or desert settings respond to these variations and contribute data to a long term ecological research project.
Pedagogy Annotation
Well scaffolded lesson includes hands on field experiences data collection and evaluation methods to communicate student findings. All accompanying protocols and data sheets are provided. Good opportunity for students to participate in real science investigation with other students and scientists in the area. Good powerpoint presentation in the resources section. Lesson also includes photographs of target trees and beetles.
Technical Details/Ease of Use
Main URL for lesson http://ecologyexplorers.asu.edu/our-ecosystem/beetles-seeds-study/ Nice organization and clean graphics and easy to follow instructions for educators to encourage students to upload data.