What our Spiders lesson plan includes
Lesson Objectives and Overview: Spiders is a high-interest reading comprehension lesson plan. As such, students will practice various close reading and comprehension skills. In addition, they will learn about spiders’ habitat, diet, and behaviors. This lesson is for students in 3rd grade, 4th grade, and 5th 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. For this lesson, you need white yarn or fishing line, glue, and black construction paper.
The paragraph on this page provides a little more information or guidance on what to expect from the lesson. It explains that you can teach this lesson in a whole-class setting or as an independent, small-group activity. You can use the blank lines to record any thoughts or ideas you have as you prepare.
SPIDERS LESSON PLAN CONTENT PAGES
What Are Spiders?
The Spiders lesson plan contains three content pages. To start off, it provides a small box with basic background information about spiders. These arachnids live anywhere from deserts to rainforests to your own backyard. They are carnivores and can live between 2 and 20 years.
Have you ever been scared by a spider, or walked into one of their sticky webs? It can be a bit scary! Spiders are arachnids, which are members of the larger group of arthropods. Arachnids include spiders, mites, ticks, and scorpions. All arachnids have eight legs. Their bodies are divided into two sections—the cephalothorax in the front and the abdomen in the back. Unlike insects, arachnids do not have wings or antennae. Still, like insects, they have jointed exoskeletons or a protective shell covering their bodies and legs. Arachnids lay eggs, and their babies look like miniature adults.
Students will learn that there are 43,000 species of spiders in the world. And while some spiders look scary, only 30 species are venomous. But you have to be very careful because venomous spiders can kill humans! Some people are so afraid of spiders that they have what we call arachnophobia, an extreme fear of spiders. About 6% of people in the world suffer from arachnophobia.
What Do They Eat?
Spiders eat mainly mosquitos, flies, and moths. Sometimes, they even eat other spiders! While most spiders eat primarily insects, larger spiders also eat worms, snails, frogs, lizards, and birds.
Most spider species passively catch their prey by spinning complex webs. On their abdomens, spiders have structures called spinnerets, which are organs that spin silk. Have you ever wondered why a spider doesn’t get stuck in their own web? This is because the spinneret can make either sticky or dry silk. And the silk can be thick or thin, beaded or smooth. Spiders decide what type of silk the web needs.
When insects cross paths with the web, they get stuck on the sticky threads. The spider carefully walks along the path of dry threads to get to the insect and then uses its fangs to inject venom into the trapped insect. The toxin kills or paralyzes the insect, allowing the spider to eat its dinner without a fuss.
But not all spiders use webs to catch their prey. Some spiders chase their prey and throw sticky nets over them when they get close. And still, other spiders are hunters, like the crab and wolf spiders. In fact, like a snake, the crab spider is very patient. It can wait for days or even weeks to catch a delicious meal. And one spider, the Bagheera kiplingi, is a vegetarian! It eats the buds of trees in Central America.
Other Interesting Facts
The word arachnida is Greek for spider. The ancient Greeks told a story about a young girl named Arachne who said she could weave better than the goddess Athena. So they had a contest, and Arachne won! Athena fumed with rage at her loss, so she changed the girl into a spider.
Can you imagine having thousands of brothers and sisters? That could happen if you were a spider. Female spiders lay up to 3,000 eggs at one time. And in addition to having an extensive family, you would also be able to jump up to 50 times your own body length! For example, jumping spiders use an internal hydraulic system, which means they can alter or change the fluid pressure in their legs to help them jump long distances.
Why Spiders Are Important to the Environment
Spiders play a role in the food chain as both predators and prey. They eat insects, keep their populations under control, and feed birds and other small animals.
But spiders do more for us than just play a vital role in the food web. Spider venom is also very useful in the medical field. It treats irregular heartbeats, memory problems, and many other things. And some spider venom is used in pest control materials because it is toxic to insects but not to most other creatures. In addition, spider silk can be made into many things, like bulletproof clothing and even artificial tendons and ligaments, which are the parts of our bodies that hold our bones and muscles together.
Spiders all over the world are suffering from human activity. When people cut down trees, use pesticides, and graze animals on large areas of land, the spider population starts to decrease. So next time you see a spider, don’t stomp on it—just trap it in a glass and take it back outside!
SPIDERS LESSON PLAN WORKSHEETS
The Spiders lesson plan includes two worksheets: an activity worksheet and a practice worksheet. Each one will help students solidify their grasp of the material they learned throughout the lesson. You can refer to the classroom procedure guidelines to know when to hand out each worksheet.
MAKE A WEB ACTIVITY WORKSHEET
For the activity, students will create a web using white yarn or fishing line and black paper. The worksheet provides pictures of four types of webs that students can reference. Students are welcome to create a completely different web if they want to. In addition, they can add plastic insects or spiders to make their webs more lifelike. After they complete their designs, they will answer the three questions at the bottom of the worksheet.
SPIDERS PRACTICE WORKSHEET
The practice worksheet requires students to answer a series of 11 questions. These questions all relate to the content pages, so students will need to refer to them often for the answers. In addition, each question provides which reading tool the question corresponds to, such as text feature, vocabulary, or comprehension.
Worksheet Answer Keys
At the end of the lesson plan document is an answer key for the practice worksheet. The correct answers are all in red to make it easier for you to compare them with students’ responses. 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.