Interview with Ted Snyder

Ted Snyder is a board-certified entomologist and serves as an environmental science teacher at Escuela Verde, a project-based learning high school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This year, Ted piloted an interactive rodent IPM course for his students. Ted taught the students rodent biology and pesticide chemistry principles so the students could inspect Escuela Verde for rodent pressure and draft a school IPM plan. You can find a summary of Ted’s rodent IPM course below and the full recording of Ted’s presentation at

What motivated you to develop this rodent IPM curriculum for your students? 

I developed this rodent IPM course based upon my discussions with Ryan Anderson. For years now, I have been teaching classes where high school students perform public health and entomological surveys on their campus and its surroundings. I believe that it is important to have students learn through doing actual scientific work, as performed by practitioners, not just reading about how science works. Ryan was developing a program where students could be involved in school IPM through coursework and involving them in inspections. What we were doing aligned, and it seemed that we could accomplish more working together than apart. 

Which part of the curriculum do you believe your students were most excited about? 

Students really enjoyed inspecting the school building for rodents. In part, this was exciting because they got to explore parts of the school that are usually off limits, but also, they enjoyed critiquing our school’s practices. Many of them found that our cafeteria had unsealed food and now, because of what they learned about rodents, they could articulate why this is a problem. 

What changes would you consider for this curriculum in the future? 

The next time I teach this, I would center it on rodent ecology in the urban environment, reducing the breadth of the class for an increased depth. Also, the writing skills for the IPM plan do not match up with what students commonly learn in typical English Language Arts classes, so I would devote regular class time to working on this specific type of writing. 


If you would like to learn more from Ted, you can find a full recording of his presentation, Teaching Rodent IPM in the High School Classroom, here. 

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