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Insect or Arachnid?

Do tiny creatures that creep, crawl, buzz, and fly around your head bug you? Use Crayola Dry-Erase Markers to demonstrate your insect-elligence.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Although they both have exoskeletons (hard skeleton on the outside of their bodies), segmented bodies, and jointed legs, spiders and insects are very different species. Invite students to read books---such as "Everything Bug: What Kids Really Want to Know About Insects and Spiders" by Cherie Winner or "Simon and Shuster Children's Guide to Insects and Spiders" by Jinny Johnson---to learn about differences between the species. Students may do this research individually or in small groups.
    2. Encourage students to notice that spiders have two body parts and insects have three. Observe the eight simple eyes on spiders and the two compound eyes on insects. Ask: Did you see that spiders have no antennae, while insects have two? Almost everyone knows that insects have three pairs of legs, while spiders have four. With Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils, students jot down other interesting facts as they discover them.
    3. Students cut paper into slips with Crayola Scissors. Write favorite fun facts, one per slip. Place papers from everyone in the class into a container such as a recycled box.
    4. At the top of a large dry-erase board, students use Crayola Dry-Erase Markers to draw an accurate illustration of a spider and an insect. Draw a line under the illustrations and a line between them, extending the full length of the board.
    5. One student at a time pulls a fact from the container and reads it. Together, decide whether the statement refers to spiders or insects. As each fact is read, write the characteristic or place a tally mark under the appropriate bug. Stack the facts into a spider pile and an insect pile. When finished reading all the facts, the tally mark counts under each bug should match the numbers in each pile. Before you know it, you'll all be bug experts!
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.

    LA: Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade level reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies.

    LA: Conduct short research projects that build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.

    LA: Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

    SCI: Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Simon & Schuster Children's Guide to Insects and Spiders by Jinny Johnson; About Arachnids: A Guide for Children by Catherine Sill; Centipedes, Millipedes, Scorpions & Spiders (Animal Kingdom Classification) by Daniel Gilpin

    Organize a school yard field trip. Equip student teams with digital cameras. Ask each team to quietly search for insects and arachnids and photograph the samples in the school yard. Upload the digital photos to a classroom computer and project each photo on a white board for student discussion. Ask students to identify if the specimen is an insect or an arachnid, providing research support for responses. Then ask students to find out what type of insect or arachnid they have photographed in their school yard.

    Students collaborate to create a classroom bulletin board/mural of spiders and insects in their natural habitats. Spider webs are okay, too! Attach small flags in the bulletin board to identify names of the insects illustrated. From time to time, change the insects and ask students to create new flags to identify the new visitor to your classroom habitat.


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