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This lesson uses video and audio to transport students into the natural environments of insects and spiders. The technologies have been included as an integral part of the lesson's design as they provide up-close encounters enabling students to compare and contrast, identify individual body parts and recognize various disguises used for protection by some insects and spiders. Video has also been included to provide a visual impact for observing a butterfly as it progresses through its developmental life cycle, its eating habits and the structure of its mouth. An important component of the lesson is to extend comprehension of how insects and spiders are beneficial, yet may sometimes prove to be harmful in the students' everyday world.
ITV Series
Learning Objectives
Students will be able to:
(per class)

(per student)

(per group of two)
Pre-Viewing Activities
Display in clear view of all students pictures of a bee, a butterfly and an ant. Encourage volunteers to identify each, then briefly share a personal experience they have had with that particular insect. Say, "The butterfly, bee and ant are all animals." Write animal on chalkboard. Point to the word animal, then say, "They are also grouped into the same family of animals." Elicit discussion allowing students to tell what they believe this group/classification of animals is called. Accept all reasonable answers leading discussion toward discovery of the term insects. Write insects on chalkboard.

Say, "Why do you suppose the butterfly, bee and ant are all grouped together as insects?" Allow students to share their knowledge. Write the following headings on chalkboard: is an insect and is not an insect; underline each heading. Instruct students to respond with a show of hands if they believe an earthworm is an insect; a crawfish. (Write each under is not an insect heading.) Encourage volunteers to tell why the earthworm and crawfish are not insects.

Elicit discussion and list on chalkboard as students are encouraged to name an insect and share what they know about it. Say, "How do you feel about insects? If you like them, show me thumbs up." Select a volunteer to count and record the tally. Say, "If you do not like insects, show me thumbs down." Select another volunteer to count and record this tally. Encourage students to compare the results.

Say, "Today you will discover all the characteristics an animal must have to be classified as an insect. One way you'll make your discovery will be through video." Write characteristics of insects on chalkboard.
Focus Viewing
Explain the first video will be viewed in part without audio. To give students a specific responsibility while viewing say, "Watch and be prepared to tell how many legs an animal must have to be classified as an insect. Be sure to count the legs when instructed by the narrator."

Viewing Activities
Insects #103
Begin tape immediately following opening credits; mute audio when the narrator says to count the insect's legs.

PAUSE tape after students have had an opportunity to count the six legs.

Ask students to tell how many legs they counted on the insect. (6) Allow a volunteer to write six legs under the characteristics of insects heading previously written on chalkboard. Ask, "How many eyes do animals have?" (2) "What is another way you might refer to two eyes?" (a pair) Ask, "How many pairs of legs does an insect have?" (three pairs) Write three pairs beside the six legs previously written on the chalkboard; enclose in parenthesis.

Point to the is not an insect heading on the chalkboard. Ask students to use the knowledge they have just acquired and explain how this would exclude the earthworm and crawfish from the classification of insect.

To give students a specific responsibility while viewing say, "As you watch the next video, be prepared to tell how many body parts an insect has and what each is called."

RESUME tape and reactivate audio.

PAUSE tape when narrator says, "All insects have three body parts. I'll point out the parts and you say the names."

Have a student come to the television monitor. Instruct him/her to identify and name each of the three insect body parts. (head, thorax, abdomen) Select a volunteer to write the new information on chalkboard under heading characteristics of insects. Briefly review all characteristics listed.

Say, "Look at names of the three body parts listed on the chalkboard and identify the part where the insect's mouth is located." Discuss briefly. To give students a specific responsibility while viewing say, "As you view the next video, look for and be prepared to discuss clues as to what and how insects eat."

RESUME tape.

PAUSE tape with visual cue of narrator holding a large fly; audio is, "A fly has only one pair of wings."

Allow students to share clues about what and how insects eat as seen on the video.

NOTE: Use an overhead projector and the top section of the activity sheet to show an artist's rendering of the four basic types of insect mouths. Use a cover sheet to conceal 'mouths' not being discussed at a given time. For the hands-on component, each student will need a small piece of sponge, a marshmallow, a paper cup with juice inside and a drinking straw. To demonstrate the mosquito mouth the teacher will need a hypodermic needle and a fresh orange. Say, "There are four basic types of insect mouths." Turn on the overhead projector and reveal the grasshopper's mouth use the following as a basis for discussion. The grasshopper has a mouth that functions almost like yours or mine. They bite and chew their food just as we do. However, there is one big difference. Insects do not have teeth. Instead of teeth, some use their strong jaws and the sharp edges of their mouths to bite and chew food. Hands-on: Instruct students to bite and chew their marshmallow like a cricket, grasshopper, roach, mantis, dragon-fly, beetle, termite or ant might do. Discuss.

Reveal the butterfly's mouth. Say, "Other insects have strong mouth parts that look like a hose. These mouth parts are used to suck nectar from flowers. What insects do you know who gather food this way?" (butterfly, moth, bees) Hands-on: Ask students to suck the 'nectar' (juice) from their cups using the drinking straws. Discuss the experience.

Reveal the housefly's mouth. A few insects have mouth parts used to soak up liquids much like a sponge. An insect with a mouth like this is the common housefly. Allow time for discussion. Hands-on: Suggest that students use the piece of sponge as a housefly would use its mouth and soak up any juice left in their paper cup.

Reveal the mosquito's mouth. Say, "Another group of insects has mouth parts that work like a hypodermic needle. They use this sharp mouth part to jab their food and suck the liquid out." Demonstrate this type mouth part by injecting the hypodermic needle into the orange and drawing out juice. Elicit discussion related to a common insect pest with the same mouth structure that lives on pets. (fleas) Ask, "Why do fleas bite our pets?" (draw blood which is used as food) Discuss lice as another insect with this type mouth. Encourage students to consider how these insects are passed from one person to another and preventive measures for controlling infestation. Turn off overhead projector.

Have students consult an encyclopedia to learn the average number of eggs an adult female flea may lay in one day. Use the information and have students compute the number of offspring a single adult female might produce in two days, three days, etc. Allow students to discuss the importance for controlling flea populations, especially if there is a house pet in their home.

Review the four basic types of insect mouths. Include a contrast between an insect bite (fluids are withdrawn) and an insect sting (fluids or poisons are injected).

Write antennae on the chalkboard. Say, "This pair of organs is extremely important to insects. The antennae are located on the head. Also, some insects go through four stages during their development." Write metamorphosis on the chalkboard; explain the term. To give students a specific responsibility while viewing say, "As you watch the next video, be prepared to explain what insects use antennae for and name the four stages the butterfly goes through in its metamorphosis."

RESUME tape.

STOP tape after the narrator says, "Changing from one thing to another."

The visual cue is the word metamorphosis. Ask, "What were the antennae used for?" (feeling and smelling) Allow students to briefly share personal experiences when they observed insects using their antennae. Ask volunteers to name the four stages of metamorphosis the butterfly went through. (egg, larva, pupa, adult) Write each on chalkboard as they are named.

To give students a specific responsibility while viewing, say, "You are going to see another video which shows the insect's body parts. This time be prepared to tell which body part the antennae are attached to and which part the legs are attached to. In addition, watch carefully so you can describe the four stages of metamorphosis."

Insects #131
FAST FORWARD and begin tape with audio of a young girl saying, "...most insects go through metamorphosis."

STOP tape with audio of Bill Nye when he says, "See you next week on Insect Stages."

Ask, "To which body part of the insect did you see the antennae attached?" (head) Allow for a brief discussion then ask, "To which part were the legs attached?" (thorax) Refer to the first stage of metamorphosis (egg stage) previously written on chalkboard; allow students to describe and discuss this stage. Continue process covering the larva, pupa and adult stages.

Distribute the following materials to each student: 1 pencil, 1 paper plate, 1 grain of rice, 1 cork screw pasta, 1 shell pasta, 1 bow pasta, 3 small real leaves and 3 small real twigs. Instruct students to use the pencil and divide the paper plate into four equal parts. Next, number the parts 1-4. Label part 1 egg, part 2 larva, part 3 pupa and part 4 adult. Place a twig and leaf in sections 1-3. Use the grain of rice to represent an insect egg; place it in section 1. Use the cork screw pasta to represent the larva (caterpillar); place it in section 2. Use the shell pasta to represent the pupa (cocoon); place it in section 3. Use the bow pasta to represent the adult (butterfly). Display the metamorphosis projects in the classroom. Note: To color pastas, use 1 tablespoon of rubbing alcohol and a few drops of food coloring in a sealable plastic bag. Add pasta and shake or rub until pasta is colored. Remove and allow to dry.

Ask a volunteer to erase the chalkboard. To give students a specific responsibility while viewing say, "You have already learned the characteristics of an insect, watch the next video as Kelly Turtle and Bear Facts talk about insects with a scientist and be prepared to tell characteristics they discuss."

Insects and Spiders #110
Begin tape where Kelly Turtle and Bear Facts are talking with the scientist.

PAUSE tape when their conversation is completed.

Allow time for students to name the characteristics of an insect included in the conversation. Ask, "Is a spider an insect?" Allow students to express their beliefs; accept all responses.

To give students a specific responsibility while viewing say, "The next video will show and explain the characteristics of spiders. Observe carefully and be ready to discuss these characteristics after the viewing."

RESUME tape.

STOP tape after the scientist says, "Bye."

Ask, "Are you now prepared to compare and contrast the characteristics of an insect and a spider?" Select two volunteers to record on the chalkboard as students discuss the characteristics. Instruct the first volunteer to write the heading insects and underline it. Instruct the second to write the heading spiders and underline it. Elicit discussion and instruct volunteers to record appropriate information on the chalkboard as students are guided to include the following:
Insects have three body parts.
Spiders have only two body parts.

Insects have six legs.
Spiders have eight legs.

Insects can be helpful or harmful.
Spiders can be helpful or harmful.

Spiders eat insects.

If time permits, divide the class into teams of two students each. Distribute two sections of clay (each about the size of a golf ball) and eight toothpicks to each team. Allow teams to decide which member will create an insect and which will create a spider. Toothpicks may be broken as shorter pieces will make more realistic lengths for legs and antennae. Display the 'insects' and 'spiders' in the classroom or allow students to take them home.

Distribute a copy of the bottom half of the Activity Sheet to each student. Allow time for completion of the activity, then check for correctness as a group. Have students make up additional problems for the class to solve.

Ask students to recall what they have learned from the lesson about insects and spiders. List on chalkboard as individuals share new information they have acquired. (characteristics of insects and spiders; stages of metamorphosis; compared/contrasted insects and spiders) Say, "Some insects have an ability to cleverly disguise themselves. This ability helps an insect protect itself from enemies. You are going to see another video which shows some of these disguises. What would you predict their disguises are?" Allow time for students to make their predictions.

To give students a specific responsibility while viewing say, "Check your predictions for accuracy as you watch the video."

Insect Disguises #117
Begin tape following opening credits.

PAUSE tape after audio, "...the Vice Wood Butterfly looks like a Monarch."

Allow students to tell whether their predictions were accurate. Encourage discussion including the disguise technique of the Bird Wing Butterfly and how bird droppings help with disguise.

To give students a specific responsibility while viewing say, "Sometimes an insect is disguised to look like the part of a tree it's resting on. As you watch the video, observe and be prepared to tell how insects on a leaf, limb and bark of a tree achieved their disguise."

FAST FORWARD tape past visual of the scorpion and RESUME tape where a man is climbing a tree.

PAUSE tape when the boy says, "From a distance all that can be seen is thorns on a branch."

Provide a dry erase marker, then ask a volunteer to come to the television and draw a circle around the cicada on the limb. Allow time for discussion on whether the cicada's disguise is effective. Encourage students to compare the effectiveness of its disguise to the effectiveness of the Vice Wood Butterfly's disguise. Accept all responses. Provide a facial tissue and ask the volunteer to wipe the circle from the television screen.

Explain the grasshopper also uses a technique to disguise itself. To give students a specific responsibility while viewing say, "As you observe how the grasshopper disguises itself through movement, decide how you might imitate this disguise."

RESUME tape.

PAUSE tape when the boy says, "He looks like a leaf swaying in the wind."

Instruct students to stand, sway and walk slowly as they imitate the grasshopper's disguise. Have students return to seats, then share their opinions about whether the disguise is effective. Ask, "Which animal is the greatest enemy of the grasshopper?" (bird) "How might the grasshopper's movement disguise help protect it from birds?" (Looking sown as it's in flight, a bird might mistake the grasshopper for a leaf swaying in the wind.)

To give students a specific responsibility while viewing say, "The praying mantis uses another type disguise. Watch the next video to discover the disguise it uses."

RESUME tape.

PAUSE tape after audio, "From far away he seems to disappear."

Elicit discussion leading to conclusion that the mantis disguised itself by being motionless, thus appearing 'through a bird's-eye view from above' to be a stick, bark on a limb or a leaf. Encourage students to contrast the grasshopper's technique with the technique used by the praying mantis.

To give students a specific responsibility while viewing say, "Watch the final video and be prepared to discuss what happens when some insects catch their food."

RESUME tape.

STOP tape at end of video.

Allow time for students to discuss what was observed when insects shown on the video captured their prey.
Post-Viewing Activities
Divide the class into two equal teams. A volunteer might serve as score keeper if needed to form teams of equal numbers. Alternate between teams as questions related to concepts in the lesson are presented. A correct or reasonable answer scores a point for the team. Questions you may wish to include in this review/reinforcement activity follow:
Some insects look like a bird in flight. How does this help protect them?
(birds mistake them for other birds)

The vice wood butterfly mimics appearance of the monarch. How does this help protect them?
(birds recognize the monarch as poisonous)

Tell a way the cicada disguised itself.
(looked like a thorn)

Tell a way the mantis disguised itself.
(looked like the food it eats or a leaf; another blended with the bark of a tree)

How does a grasshopper and mantis use movement as a disguise?
(sway like a leaf blowing in the wind)

How did a pile of dead leaves help protect a mantis?
(blended in and looked like a dead leaf)

What enables a mantis to get close to its food source unnoticed?
(its clever disguise)

Why did the orchid mantis go unnoticed?
(looked so much like a flower)

Why are most insects easily detected by their predators?
(must move about to catch their food)

Why is it important in nature that not all disguises work all the time?
(helps to control the balance of nature)

NOTE: Extract other teacher-made questions from the body of the lesson plan.

The following questions were asked at the beginning of the lesson. Repeat and compare tallies to discover how many students changed their opinion about insects.
"Thumbs up if you now like insects."
(record tally)

"Thumbs down if you don't like insects."
(record tally)
Allow time for students to discuss reasons they did or did not change opinions after learning more about insects.
Action Plan
Arrange a field trip to a museum that has an insect collection. Request a guide who is knowledgeable about insects be made available and have students pre-determine questions they will ask. Have students write thank you notes; mail or deliver notes to guide who assisted the class on the field trip.

If there is a college or university in your area, ask a Science professor or student studying entomology to visit the classroom and discuss this area of science as a career choice. Ask them to include information on various professions which require advanced training in entomology and availability to both females and males.

Take a walk around the school grounds on a field trip to an outdoor nature center. Look for and carefully observe habits of insects in their natural environments. Arrange time for students to share individual observations.
Language Arts
Provide students a sheet of lined paper cut in a shape to resemble a bug. Write 'It bugs me when...' on chalkboard. Have students use the sentence fragment as the basis for writing a creative story to release frustrations of things that annoy them. Reserve time for students to share their stories. Display stories in the hallway outside your classroom.

Computer Activity
Use America On Line bulletin board to identify other classrooms studying insects. Communicate with those interested in sharing information about their studies and other related activities.

Social Studies/Careers
Research and explore entomology as a career possibility. Emphasize opportunities are equally available to females and males.

Allow an interested group of students to design and create a bulletin board that explains one of the lesson concepts. (e.g.) The metamorphosis of a butterfly. Provide needed materials and reserve a bulletin board space for display.

Master Teachers: Connie Crowell and Susan Bateman

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