March 28, 2017

Pesticide Wise

ipm45Download This Lesson:  Pesticide Wise

Brief Description: Students will learn about the selection, handling, storage and disposal of pesticides. They will read about the background of pesticide use and the harm it can pose. Students will look at new vocabulary and the information given on labels to find important information.


Focus Areas: Pest Control Methods – Chemical; Science, Language Arts

Focus Skills: Skimming/scanning, summarizing, drawing conclusions

Level of Involvement: AVERAGE


To help students understand how to select, handle, use, store and dispose of pesticides

Essential Question

Why is it important to read pesticide labels?

Essential Understandings

Pesticides, while useful in controlling unwanted pests, pose a risk to humans, other animals and plants. They need to be used with caution, concern and care.


A pesticide is any substance or mixture intended to prevent, repel, reduce or destroy infestation by plant, animal or microorganic pests. The term applies not only to insecticides, but also to herbicides, fungicides, rodenticides, disinfectants, sanitizers, repellents, biocides, and antifouling agents among others. In the United States, anti-defoliant and plant growth regulators are also classified as pesticides.

Most pesticides, though useful to society for their intended purpose, pose a risk of harm to humans, pets and the natural environment. Therefore, pesticides and their use are regulated in this country by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Extensive testing for negative health and economic impacts must be conducted prior to application for EPA registration, which is required before any pesticide can be sold. This process takes several years and costs companies millions of dollars. Furthermore, by law, the EPA requires strict labeling of all pesticides.

Consumers have a responsibility to read pesticide labels carefully to insure safety and proper use against personal injury, environmental damage and loss, and liability prosecution. Failure to do so may result in unintended results.


active ingredient-  the major component of the pesticide that produces the desired results

fungicide – a pesticide that controls plant diseases

herbicide – a pesticide that controls weeds and other undesirable plants

inert ingredient – the inactive materials in the pesticide that have no direct effect on the pest but make the pesticide easier to handle and apply

insecticide – a pesticide that controls insects

rodenticide – a pesticide that controls rodents

Challenge:  Become a pesticide professional!


Time: 45 to 60 minutes

Group size: 2 to 30

Space: seating for group


  • black/white board or chart paper
  • sample labels (including Overhead 7) *
  • labels for each participant *
  • Overheads 1 through 7 *
  • Handout 1(4 pages)
  • Handout 2 Pesticide Wise Checklist *
  • Handout 3 Analysis of a Pesticide Label *
  • Answer Key for Handout 3 *
  • Assessment for a Persuasive Piece *
  • overhead projector

* single copy provided


Option #1

  1.  Make copies of Handouts 1 and 2 (one per participant).
  2.  Collect empty boxes, cans, bottles (cereal, dish detergent, rice, soup, etc.) to use with group.

Option #2

Have participants examine boxes, bottles or cans of foodstuffs at home to determine what information is included. Note: These should be foodstuffs, NOT pesticides.

Correlations to State of Maine Learning Results: Parameters for Essential Instruction

ELA = English Language Arts,   HE/PE = Health Education and Physical Education,    MA = Mathematics,    SCI = Science,   SS = Social Studies,   VPA = Visual and Performing Arts

** Alignment possible only if lesson extension is done


Maine Learning Results

Common Core Standards for English and Mathematics 


ELA – A3. Reading Informational Texts

A3. Students read various informational texts, within a grade appropriate span of text complexity, making decisions about usefulness based on purpose, noting how the text structures affect the information presented.

Grade 7:

c. Draw conclusions about a text and its purpose, and support them with evidence from the text.

d. Make comparisons about information from several passages or articles from different texts.

Grade 8:

d. Draw conclusions about information from multiple texts and support them with evidence from the texts.

B. Writing

B3. Students write academic essays that state a clear position, supporting the position with relevant evidence. a. Summarize and paraphrase and/or explain information from reading, listening, or viewing.

SCI – B1. Skills and Traits of Scientific Inquiry

B1. Students plan, conduct, analyze data from, and communicate results of investigations, including simple experiments.

c. Use appropriate tools, metric units, and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret data.

e. Use logic, critical reasoning and evidence to develop descriptions, explanations, predictions, and models.


ELA – Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects

1. Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts.


Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects 6-12

2. Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes.

b. Develop the topic with relevant, well-chosen facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples.

d. Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.

4. Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

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