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Blue bumble bees and iridescent beetles; colorful insects add drama to the landscape. Some even provide clues to technological advancements!

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • 30 to 60 minutes
  • Directions

    1. Introduce students to the study of entomology by asking about bugs they have observed. Which ones are particularly colorful? Bugs have been on Earth for millions of years. The oldest cockroach fossil ever found was 350 million years old, older than the oldest dinosaur! There are more species of insects than any other animal species. Most have protective coloring. Some insects blend into their environments, but some are protected by their bright colors. Scientists are finding that some of the most colorful insects even hold clues to technological and medicinal advancements.
    2. Ask each student to research colorful bugs and select one to study. What is the name of the bug? Where is it found? Ask them to find out as much as they can about their chosen bugs and their environments.
    3. Using photographs as guides, invite students to draw pictures of their bugs using with Crayola® markers, colored pencils, crayons, or oil pastels.
    4. Fluorescent, bold, and gel markers provide particularly vibrant colors. Encourage them to make drawings bigger than life so they can be cut out.
    5. Invite students to create bug dioramas by covering recycled cardboard boxes with colored paper. Suggest that they include images of plants native to their bug’s environment within the dioramas and then display their bugs within these natural settings.
    6. Ask each student to write the name of their bug and some interesting facts about it on top of the diorama. Provide time for students to view displays and talk with one another about what they have learned. What similarities and differences do they notice among the insects? Can anyone name the three body parts every insect has?
  • Standards

    LA: Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).

    LA: Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade level topic or subject area.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    SCI: Make observations of plants and animals to compare the diversity of life in different habitats.

    VA: Students will initiate making works of art and design by experimenting, imagining and identifying content.

    VA: Students will investigate, plan and work through materials and ideas to make works of art and design.

  • Adaptations

    If some students discover they have chosen insects that live in similar environments, encourage them to work on their dioramas together.

    Invite interested students to investigate how scientists are using bugs to help with research. Ask them to report their findings to the class.

    Encourage students to investigate how colors protect certain insects. Which ones blend into their surroundings? How do bright colors protect other insects?

    Many bugs can carry loads much greater than their own weight. Challenge students to find out what bugs can carry compared proportionately to what humans can carry.

    Some scientists think ants may be able to count and communicate. Invite students who are interested in this to find out more and report back to the class.


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