Nobel ConferenceTeacher Resources

Watch the Conference in Person

  • Request free tickets for a high school delegation to attend one or both days of the conference.
  • To request tickets , please contact the Office of Marketing and Communication at 507-933-7520 or email

Psst! Check out this insect's eye view of the conference topic!

Teacher Classroom Resources

Below is information on this year's speakers to be used by high school teachers.

Michael Young

Rockefeller University
Nobel Laureate 2017 Physiology and Medicine

Recent Research on Loneliness using fruit flies as the model of study: Lonely flies, like humans, eat more and sleep less.  This is an introductory article on the current research of Dr. Young. He has been using fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster), a long time research organism in biology, to study loneliness and the effects it has on the organism. It would be a great starting point for delving further into this work. 
Here is the abstract from Nature from August 2021 entitled Chronically Lonely Flies Overeat and Lose Sleep. This article delves deeper in the loneliness phenomenon and its effects on sleep and eating disorders. To read more of the article beyond the abstract, one will need to buy a subscription to Nature Magazine
This is an article from August, 2021 in the Smithsonian Magazine by David Kindly. He is introducing the reader to the basics of the loneliness research of Dr. Young and others.  Keep in mind, this research was conducted in the middle of the global Covid19 outbreak and quarantine policies and has a lot of links to other articles and research into the topic. It is interesting that the research connects the dots between lonely fly and human behavior when put into those situations that mimic loneliness. 

Jessica Ware

American Museum of Natural History, New York City

Minnesota Conservation Volunteer: Upper Intermediate to High School
“Damsels and Dragons” - Multidisciplinary Classroom Activities
This is a complete set of lessons working with and learning about dragonflies and damselflies. This lesson was designed by Jack Judkins, Bemidji Area Schools, Bemidji, Minnesota. These activities are aligned with the Minnesota Department of Education Academic standards. 
TEDTalk: How you can help save the monarch butterfly — and the planet Monarch butterflies are dying at an alarming rate around the world -- a looming extinction that could also put human life at risk. But we have just the thing to help save these insects, says author Mary Ellen Hannibal: citizen scientists. Learn how these grassroots volunteers are playing a crucial role in measuring and rescuing the monarch's dwindling population -- and how you could join their ranks to help protect nature.

Shannon Olsson 

The Echo Network; Special Scientific Envoy to India, Danish Academy of Technical Sciences

Connecting with Tiny Insect Brains through Virtual Reality~ TED Talk by Shannon Olsson  In this talk, Shannon Olsson takes us on a journey to understand our own decisions through the eyes of a most humble creature – the fly. Using her lab’s insect virtual reality system, she shows us how our two worlds are similar in many ways.
This resource is a summary of one of Dr. Shannon Olsson’s many research projects and how her lab at the National Center for Biological Sciences in Bangalore utilizes a Virtual Reality arena to study the behavior and movement of insects within a simulated environment.  The article surrounding Dr. Olsson’s research is simplified to the extent it could be understood at an advanced level in high school and good for students who may be interested in the effects of VR in science, or insect behavior. 
Dr. Shannon Olsson has run a podcast with the echo network starting in 2021, titled “Imagine India”.  This podcast features ~25 minute episodes that explore many different aspects of scientific research, discussing topics such as climate change, science in public and corporate policy, agroecology, bioengineering, and many more. 

Julie Lesnik

Wayne State University

Webinar with Dr. Lesnik at the Smithsonian Museum: The Role of Insect Eating in Human Diets Past and Present This webinar is a lecture from Dr. Lesnik paired with the Smithsonian Museum addresses humanity’s consumption of insects and the evolution of how humans have utilized them in our diets throughout history. 
Edible Insects This is a website dedicated to edible insects that may be utilized within the classroom. It’s a fun website to explore tasty and appealing options for sustainable substitutions for protein within our diets. 
PBS NOVA Programme on edible insects. Could be a good introductory show to introduce the concept of edible insects. This episode of NOVA, an educational programme from PBS, introduces insects not only as essential elements of our ecosystems, but as edible, sustainable options for the future of farming practices. 
From Pests to Protein: Edible Insects Emerge as a Sustainable Food Source Research from Virginia Tech on the possibilities of edible insects actually improving the health of humans, animals, and the entire planet. 
Your Ancestors Probably Ate Insects. So What's Bugging You?
From NPR and includes an interview with Julie Lesnik
This article provides insight into why eating insects goes against our societal norms, both psychologically and legislatively. 

Segenet Kelemu

International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology

This African Scientist is Looking for Super Bugs
From Falling Walls
This article details an interview with Dr. Segenet Kelemu and provides a brief description of her research about insects. The insects she is studying could be used to provide an extra food source to countries experiencing environmental crises, not only to humans, but to livestock as well.
Can the world continue to provide enough food?
From the Jerusalem Post
This article gives a background of Dr. Segenet Kelemu’s background, where the inspiration for her education came from, and the work she has done since.

Jonathan Birch

London School of Economics

Learning Guide for Animal Sentience This is a learning guide written by Jonathan Birch and Heather Browning about animal sentience, and the value of researching animal sentience in modern day science. It includes other resources to assist teachers to formulate their own lesson plans, and also a sample syllabus for teachers to use within their classroom.
RSPCA Workshops on Animal Sentience This resource includes eight workshops revolving around different areas concerning animal sentience and welfare. This includes subjects such as identification of sentient behavior in animals, representation of animal sentience in government, and sentience in the real world.

May Berenbaum

University of Illinois - Urbana/Champaign

Fearing the ‘Insect Apocalypse’? Renowned Entomologist Says ‘Get Rid of Your Lawn’ This article from WTTW news includes a brief interview from Dr. May Berenbaum with insight on a quote “insect apocalypse”, in which many of our world’s most beneficial species of insects are going extinct. Dr. Berenbaum proposes easy ways in which we can protect our environment, especially for the general population. 
Not all bugs are bad: Good Bugs in the Garden An article from the University of Illinois Horticulture Extension Services on the more horticultural need for entomological understanding. A brief background on Good vs Bad bugs and how to tell the difference between the two.


Numerous episodes abound where insects or insect related topics are the theme of the show. They number back to several years ago,

Damn Bugs 
Killer Empathy
Hard Knock Life  
Glad Somebody Likes Bugs 
Kill Them All 
The Septendecennial Sing-Along 
Terrestrial: The Guardian 
A Man Who Loved Insects  

More Information

Check out this Nobel Conference Resources site for additional recourse compiled for the Nobel Conference audience related to this year's topic.