Insects and Minibeasts:
A Creepy Crawly Experience for Grades 1-3
Theresa Hughes-Feletar: Dip.Ed(ece);B.Ed;M.Ed. Updates as needed
are by field-trips.org
Below are links and activities to use with the tour, but you
may have many more of your own. They are designed to cross all areas
of the curriculum and make use of the rich resources of the Internet
as well as good classroom practices.
Bay Area Bug Eating Society
Food Insects Newsletter, Inc.
to Use Insects As Food
Crickets in the Classroom Page -- This page is about using common
field and house crickets to teach skills of observation and measurement.
The unit also includes basic information on cricket biology and
introduces students to the scientific literature
Curriculum -- A curriculum for elementary-school children from
BugPeople.org, an entomology outreach program in Oakland, California
- In your schoolyard- Find an unpaved area of your schoolyard
and record by drawing or writing about the different types of
insects you find. Note the areas of your yard where you find them
(on the ground, on a leaf, on a branch, underground etc.).
- Camouflage and protection - Look closely at the insects
on the websites and in your yard and consider how they are camouflaged
against predators. Using an old fish tank or clear viewing container,
create a small version of your yard and place some of the insects
you find outdoors in it and observe their natural protective habits
- Life cycle mobile - Choose your favorite insect and find
out the names for the stages of its life cycle. On round pieces
of cardboard, draw, paint or print out pictures of the stages
and label them. Place them in correct sequence and hang them,
using fishing line, on a wire coat hanger and display for future
- Pesticides in the environment - With the information
learned from the Student Internet tour , extend your knowledge
of the insects in your local area and the problems they may be
causing to crops or vegetation in your community. Visit the local
library or do further research using the following search engines
to find out what kinds of pesticides are used in your area. Take
photos (if possible) of your experiences and findings and write
a pictorial report on your discoveries.
- Magnifying glasses - With your carefully caught insects
in a shoebox, cover the opening of the box with plastic food wrap
and secure tightly with an elastic band. Push a small indentation
into the center of the plastic wrap and this will create a magnification
area which will allow you to view your insects up close.
- Families - Make a graph of insect attributes, for example,
number of legs, antennae, body parts, wings, eyes etc. Sort the
insects you find in your observations on the Internet and in your
own environment into groups. Find out whether any of the groups
of insects are actually related and make a poster of the families
- Yummy bugs - Make a recipe book of insect food that you
were interested in while looking at the websites about insects
as food in different cultures. Make sure your recipe book tells
the culture from which it came. You may wish to add a map of the
country from which they come at the bottom of each recipe.
- Communities – Think about other species that like to
live in communities. Research a different species using the Internet
and create a project poster showing what you have discovered.
- Teamwork – Just as insects cooperate and work together
to accomplish things, humans also can work together to accomplish
things. From a deck of alphabet cards, choose a card and work
in a group of 3 or 4 to recreate the letter on the floor using
your bodies. Ask others to guess the letter that has been created.
- Roles and responsibilities – Each insect within its insect
community has a role or responsibility to insure the smooth running
of the community, for example, laying eggs, working, caring for
the young, collecting food. We all have roles and responsibilities
at school and home. Write about the people in the home and school
communities and write and illustrate what their roles and responsibilities
are. For example, Mother – prepare food for the children, wash
clothes etc, Self – make bed, wash dishes etc.
- Insect patterns - Look for pictures of insects that you
can cut out and copy. Have a friend start a pattern and you continue
the pattern. For example, ant, spider, spider, scorpion, ant,
spider, spider, scorpion…
- Bugs by the yard - Using the pictures of your insects,
measure your desk, foot, body, doorway, pencil and book. Record
your results as "My desk is 3 scorpions, 6 ants and 2 spiders
long." Record all your measurements and compare results and make
comparisons. Try predicting answers before measuring and compare
predictions with actual results.
- 10 times the weight – Keeping in mind facts about insects
(for example, ants can lift 10 times their body weight) and using
bathroom kitchen scales, measure the weight of objects such as
a pencil, shoe, eraser and book and then calculate 10 times the
weight and find objects that are equal to the amount. Record the
information as "1 pencil x 10 = 4 erasers."
- Chance and data – Cut out 6 of your favorite insect pictures
and glue them flat onto a die. Draw a graph with 6 columns titled
with the names of your 6 different chosen insects as on the die.
Roll the die 10 times and record what insect is rolled. By looking
at the results, predict the probability of a chosen insect has
of being rolled. Use the data recorded to compare the number of
times certain insects have been rolled.
- Insect races – Carefully and safely catch two ants or
another walking insect, draw a large circle on the pavement with
a small circle in the center of that. Predict how long it will
take each insect to get to the outer circle after being placed
in the inner circle. Record your prediction and then place the
insects down to test your prediction. Use a stopwatch to time
the insects and compare your prediction and actual results. Try
it with different kinds of insects and compare their speeds.
Language and Literacy
- 6 legs are better than 2 - Pretend that you are a 6-legged
insect. Write a story about the benefits of having 6 legs. Write
an imaginative story about what adventures you could have, how
it would be great to have 6 legs. Imagine how fast you could run,
make and do things, but also think about how long it would take
you to put shoes and socks on, etc. Illustrate your story with
a drawing of yourself with 6 legs doing something that you could
only do if you had 6 legs.
- Adjective mobile - With small blank cards attached to
fishing line and hung on a wire coat hanger, write adjectives
to describe insects, for example, microscopic, small, segmented,
spiky etc. Display the adjective mobile for future reference.
- Bugs eye view – Carefully and safely catch an ant or
another crawling insect. Place it into a clear enclosed container
with obstacles such as a few colored Lego blocks, a small twig,
a small container of water and some cookie crumbs in a far corner.
Place the insect in the observation container and pretend you
can see from its perspective and narrate what it happening as
it moves around the obstacles and possibly toward the food. Give
your insect a name and write about the adventures of your insect
in the observation container.
- Story publishing – Publish your insect adventure story
at the computer using a word processing program. Use a drawing
program to illustrate your story.
- Acrostic poem – Write the name of your insect in large
letters vertically down your paper. Think about words to describe
your insect and use the first letter on each line to write about
your insect. For example:
A – active, atomlike, abdomen, antennae
N – narrow, nodes, nests
T – tiny, teeny, teeny-weeny, thorax
- Insects across the world – Find out the names of as many
insects as your can in as many languages as possible. Develop
in into your own Insects Across the World Dictionary and publish
it using a word processing program on your computer.
- "Superbug saves the world" cartoon strip – Using a large
strip of paper, divide the paper into 4 segments. Choose your
favorite insect to be the main character for a superhero bug cartoon
strip. Name the character and decide on what super powers or strength
it may have. Use your imagination to think about an adventure
it could go on and how it could save the world in some way.
Song - "Head, Thorax, Abdomen"
(sung to the tune of "head, shoulders, knees and toes")
Head, thorax, abdomen... abdomen,
Head, thorax, abdomen….abdomen,
Eyes and mouth and two antennae,
Head, thorax, abdomen….abdomen.
HOW TO - Point to the head, body and then bottom as you sing
and point to eyes and mouth then use your fingers to make antennae
from your forehead.
- Giant insects - Use different shaped balloons covered
with paper mache to build your favorite insect. Use toilet rolls,
joined together with masking tape as the legs and straws or popsicle
sticks as antennae. Paint on facial features.
- Egg carton insects - After observing an insect’s body
structure, cut out the appropriate number of egg carton segments
and use a variety of collage materials to add detail to your egg
- Insect models – use playdough, clay or plasticine to
model your favorite insect, detailing distinct body parts.
insects - This site shows completed origami insects and
gives information on how to purchase a book showing the steps
to this art:
related riddles from the University of Kentucky Department of
Ladybug. Written by Emery Bernhard, illustrated
by Durga Bernhard, and published by Holiday House, New York.
Insects and Spiders. Written by Lorus J. and Margery
Milne, illustrated by Claire Phipps, and published by Doubleday,
The Ultimate Bug Book. Written by Luise Woelflein,
illustrated by Wendy Smith-Griswold, and published by Western Publishing
Co., New York.
Entomology (Real Kids/Real Science Series). Written
by Ellen Doris, with original photography by Len Rubenstein, and
published by Thames and Hudson, New York.
Caterpillars of North America (Peterson First Guides).
Written and illustrated by Amy Bartlett Wright and published by
Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, Massachusetts.
Creepy Crawlies. Written by Michael Chinery, illustrated
by Ian Jackson, and published by Larousse Kingfisher Chambers Inc.,
New York, NY.
Flies Are Fascinating. Written by Valerie Wilkenson
and published by Children's Press, Chicago, IL.
Scorpions. Written by Conrad J. Storad and published
by Lerner Publications Co. Minneapolis, MN.
A Look Inside Spiders and Scorpions. Written by Dr.
Paul Hillyard, illustrated by Steve Johnson, Gary Slater, Alex Pang,
and Andrew Barrowman, and published by Reader's Digest Young Families,
Inc. as a Joshua Morris Book.