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A Busy Spider

Explore nature and art through Eric Carle’s book about a busy spider.

  • Grade 1
    Grade 2
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Read The Busy Spider by Eric Carle to the class. Allow time to discuss the illustrations and the story and to feel the raised lines of the spider web in the book.
    2. Talk about the kind of lines the busy spider used to make the web such as horizontal, vertical and diagonal.
    3. Provide each student with a foam brush, a precut half of a 6-inch paper plate and a recycled plastic container filled with black washable paint. Students will paint the convex surface of the paper plate. Allow time for the plate to dry completely.
    4. Give each student 4 pre-cut strips of black paper about one quarter inch wide by 12 inches long (0.64 cm by 30.5 cm), a scissors and washable glue. Students will cut each of the strips in half and fold each piece back and forth like an accordion, creating 8 legs.
    5. Place a dot of glue on the end of each leg and glue the legs to the curved side of the plate.
    6. Give each student paper scraps and a pencil. Each student will choose 2 colors of paper and fold each paper in half. On each folded paper draw a circle. One circle should be slightly larger than the other circle. Cut each circle. Glue the smaller circles on top of the larger circles to create the eyes. Glue each eye to the paper plate.
    7. Hand out construction paper crayons to draw a mouth on the plate. Is the spider happy, grouchy or sad?
    8. Give each student a piece of dark construction paper. Recall how the busy spider in the story created her web. What did she do first?
    9. Demonstrate how to draw the web, emphasizing where the spider used horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines. Now the students will draw their webs using a crayon.
    10. Glue the spider on the web.
  • Standards

    LA: With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

    LA: With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear.

    LA: Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.

    SCI: Use a model to represent the relationship between the needs of different plants or animals and the places they live.

    VA: Use different media, techniques and processes to communicate ideas, experiences and stories.

    VA: Identify connections between the visual arts and other disciplines in the curriculum.

  • Adaptations

    Explore other books about spiders, both fiction and nonfiction. Engage the students in a discussion of the similarities and differences between the illustrations and between the writing of fiction compared to nonfiction.

    Making a web is a unique attribute of spiders. Make a list of other insects and animals that have unique abilities. What significance do these abilities have?


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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