What our Bugs lesson plan includes
Lesson Objectives and Overview: Bugs explains the differences between insects and arachnids. Students will learn about the different critters that fall into each of these categories and be able to provides examples of each. They will also be able to identify and list the traits of insects and arachnids. This is a lesson for students in 1st grade, 2nd grade, and 3rd grade.
Every lesson plan provides you with a classroom procedure page that outlines a step-by-step guide to follow. You do not have to follow the guide exactly. The guide helps you organize the lesson and details when to hand out worksheets. It also lists information in the yellow box that you might find useful. You will find the lesson objectives, state standards, and number of class sessions the lesson should take to complete in this area. In addition, it describes the supplies you will need as well as what and how you need to prepare beforehand. The only other supplies you will need for this lesson in addition to the handouts are colored pencils, construction paper, and scratch paper.
Options for Lesson
The “Options for Lesson” section of the classroom procedure page provides you with a number of ideas for either additional activities or alternative ways to go about the lesson. One such idea is to assign each student a different bug species to research. Students will then present what they learned to the class. You could also obtain coloring pages of different bugs and have student color and name them. Another option is to take students outdoors to identify different bugs. Students can take paper and colored pencils with them and draw pictures of the insects and arachnids they observe. One other idea is to invite an entomologist to the class to speak to the students and answer their questions about bugs.
The paragraph on this page provides a little extra information or guidance for the lesson. It suggests you take advantage of the many resources online to find additional material related to the topic. Use the blank lines to write down any other ideas or thoughts you have about the lesson before you present it to the class.
BUGS LESSON PLAN CONTENT PAGES
Bugs and Pests
The Bugs lesson plan contains three pages of content. The first page introduces the lesson by describing the likelihood that students have had to swat away some bugs at some point. These pests invade picnics all the time. Flies land on the food or ants crawl along the dishes. And the presence of spiders or bees often causes people to run away.
Bugs are everywhere in the world. Most of them are part of the arthropod family of animals, which includes insects and spiders. Spiders, however, are not actually insects. They are part of a group that scientists call arachnids, which also includes scorpions, mites, and ticks. And other arthropods include crabs, lobsters, and shrimp, which people would probably not consider bugs. Other bugs include grasshoppers, moths, flies, and bees.
Students will discover that, at any given time, there are around 10 quintillion insects alive in the world. That is 10 with 18 zeros after it. There are 91,000 different species of insects and around 100,000 species of arachnids. If people divided all the bugs in the world amongst themselves as pets, each person in the world would have over 2,000 pets!
Although both spiders and insects are similar in many ways, they are definitely not the same. The next section of the lesson details the traits of insects and provides examples of which creatures would be a part of this group. There are more insects in the world than any other animal. Students may not realize that insects are technically animals as well. They just aren’t usually as big as even some of the smallest animals of other classes. Most are incredibly small, and some are seemingly invisible without the help of a microscope.
Entomology is the study specifically of insects. Insects divide into several categories: butterflies, centipedes, social insects (ants, termites, bees, etc.), moths, flies, beetles, and grasshoppers. Nearly every insect has several traits in common. Their bodies have three sections: a head, a thorax, and an abdomen. In addition, they have antennae on their head and six legs that attach to the thorax. They also have a hard outer covering made of chitin, which is a tough substance that helps protect them.
Insects also have special eyes called compound eyes. Some have wings (also connected to the thorax) and can fly. They all hatch from eggs, and scientists call the young offspring nymphs. The outer covering an insect is born with gets replaced by a new, stronger covering made of the chitin substance during the molting process. Students will discover other interesting facts about insects before they move on to arachnids.
Most people think of spiders when they think of arachnids. The one trait arachnids have in common with insects is that they are both pests! However, both groups can benefit the environment. In addition to spiders, arachnids include scorpions, mites, and ticks. Ticks are bloodsucking pests that attach themselves to warm-blooded vertebrates to feed, which causes the vertebrate harm.
Unlike insects, arachnids’ bodies only have two main sections: the cephalothorax and the abdomen. Arachnids have eight legs simple eyes rather than compound eyes. They also don’t have antennae or wings. Like insects, however, they do have outer skeletons, and they lay eggs. They also have fangs and a spinneret, which spiders use to make webs. Speaking of spiders, most use the silk of their webs to catch pray. They use their fangs to inject venom and paralyze the prey before eating it. A young spider is called a spiderling.
Ticks and mites are not helpful to the environment, but spiders are. They don’t generally cause harm to humans or other animals. While some are poisonous and can hurt humans if a spider bites them, most spiders are actually harmless and can help the environment in several ways. Among other things, they control the insect population, protect homes and other places from pests, and provide food for birds, reptiles, and other small mammals.
Here is a list of the vocabulary words students will learn in this lesson plan:
- Arthropod: a family of animals that includes insects and arachnids
- Entomology: the study of insects
- Chitin: a tough substance that helps protect insects bodies
- Nymphs: the young offspring of insects
- Molting: the process by which insects replace their outer covering at birth with a new, stronger covering made of chitin
- Social insects: insects that live and work together in large groups
- Colony: the group of social insects
- Queen: the female insect that lives for several years and lays hundreds of eggs every day
- Workers/soldiers: the insects that live for just a few months and construct and defend nests, search for food, and so on
- Tick: a blood-sucking arachnid that attaches itself to a warm-blooded vertebrate to feed, which causes the vertebrate harm
- Spiderling: the young offspring of a spider
- Harvestmen: the arachnid commonly known as daddy longlegs that look like spider but that have only a single body part
BUGS LESSON PLAN WORKSHEETS
The Bugs lesson plan includes three worksheets: an activity, a practice worksheet, and a homework assignment. Each one helps solidify students comprehension of the lesson material. The guide on the classroom procedure page explains when to distribute each worksheet to the students.
INVENT A BUG ACTIVITY WORKSHEET
Students will work in pairs for the activity, but you can have them work alone or in small groups instead if you like. The activity requires students to invent a new bug. Students will work together to come up with a name and design, and they will decide on its traits. The bug must include all the typical parts of an insect or arachnid, depending on which group the new bug belongs to. It can include additional parts as well. Students will first use scratch paper to sketch a rough draft of their bug and then use the construction paper for the final copy. They will color the bug and, if they want, draw other things such as the food their bug eats or its environment. There are six questions on the worksheet that students will answer that relate to information about their new bug.
COMPARE AND LABEL PRACTICE WORKSHEET
The practice worksheet divides into three sections. The first section provides a chart with two columns—one for insects and one for arachnids. Students will fill out the chart using the prompts to the left of the chart. For the second section, students will answer eight questions that relate to the content pages. The final section displays an insect and an arachnid. Students will label each part of the bugs using the terms in the word bank at the top of the worksheet.
BUGS HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT
For the homework assignment, students will first read 12 definitions. Using the terms in the word bank on the right, they will match each definition to the correct term. Then, they will read 8 statements that describe different bugs. They will decide if each statement describes an insect (I), an arachnid (A), or both (B).
Worksheet Answer Keys
The final pages of the lesson plan are answer keys for the worksheets. For this lesson, there are answer keys for the practice and homework worksheets. The answer key highlights or write the correct responses in red. Students responses should match these answer keys exactly apart from one response from the comparison chart on the practice worksheet. Students’ answers for examples of insects and arachnids may vary widely. If you choose to administer the lesson pages to your students via PDF, you will need to save a new file that omits these pages. Otherwise, you can simply print out the applicable pages and keep these as reference for yourself when grading assignments.
RELATED LESSON PLANS
Take a look at these other lesson plans that relate to these little critters:
- Butterflies—The Butterflies lesson plan teaches students specifically about the life cycle of this beautiful insect. It could be a great lesson to teach in conjunctions with Bugs. It is for students in 1st grade, 2nd grade, and 3rd grade.
- Metamorphosis—While this lesson is for students in older elementary grades (3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade), it contains information that could complement the Bugs lesson plan well. This lesson is for students in 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th grade.
- Animal Classification—Animal Classification explores how to group certain animals based on their traits. It describes which animal classes fall into the vertebrate category and which (including bugs) fall into the invertebrates category. The lesson is for students in 1st grade, 2nd grade, and 3rd grade.