Thematic Unit Plan
Thematic units involve the crossing of many subject areas and the following sample is an entire unit rather than a one class period lesson plan.
WARNING: Teachers are responsible to ensure that materials selected for use reflect Seventh-day Adventist philosophy.
|Teacher: Parks/Sullivan||Date: June 17, 2004|
|Subject: Integrated||Grade: Primary|
|Lesson Title: Insects|
Students will explore the world of insects to expand their knowledge of ants, bees, butterflies, caterpillars and ladybugs.
- Identify the characteristics of an insect.
- Identify habitats of insects.
- Describe the process of metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a butterfly.
- Identify the various roles of bees such as queen, workers, robbers, etc. in making honey.
- Identify the parts of an ant's anatomy and the roles within an ant colony.
- Identify the characteristics of a ladybug.
Warm Up: (Pre-activities)
Insect Library : Prepare your classroom for a unit on insects by collecting books, magazines and pamphlets on insects, entomology, etc. (Refer to Related Literature.)
Brainstorm : Brainstorm to see how much students know about insects by putting an idea web on the board and letting the students give their ideas while you write them down. Have them copy the web into their journals. At the end of the unit, have them complete and contrast what they've learned.
Independent Reading : Introduce a time for silent independent reading. Plan periodic 15-20 minute slots for this activity and have a student read a book or article about insects. Give 15 minutes of reading homework and set a date for books to be finished. Have students take notes in their journals to be shared during the culminating activity.
Research Teams: Pair the students up and have them draw the name of an insect out of a jar. Have the teams conduct research on each insect throughout the unit to be shared at the end of a unit in a five-minute oral presentation. An insect book will be turned in by each team to be used on an interactive bulletin board. (See Bulletin Board Ideas.)
Discussion: Discuss the characteristics of an insect using a diagram to illustrate. All insects share the following characteristics:
- 3 body parts:
- Head; contains a mouth, eyes, and a brain
- Thorax: the locomotion center, full of muscles that move the wings and legs
- Abdomen: contains the heart, digestive organs, and breathing organs
- 6 jointed legs attached to the thorax
- No internal skeleton
- A tough outer covering called an exoskeleton
- 2 antennae for smell, touch and sometimes hearing attached to the head
- Holes in the thorax and abdomen called spiracles to breathe air
- Mouthparts that pierce, suck, sponge or chew
- Many insects have 2 pairs of wings.
Around Your Neighborhood: Identify the most common insects local to your city or state.
Field Trip: Natural History Museum or nature center.
Bug Club: Make a chart of activities to be completed during the unit and each student's name. Have each student mark off each activity as they complete it. Certificates will be given during the culminating activity.Nature Station: Have the students create an observation center in your classroom by taking a nature walk to collect various insects. Assemble garden creature habitats for display (Instructions below). Provide a magnifying glass, ruler, and insect viewing jar. Keep a journal nearby for students to record information such as the size of the largest pill bug, the date when babies are first discovered, the number of bugs in each container.
Caterpillar Bug Jug: Prepare a caterpillar home is a small fish tank, a shoebox or milk carton with a hole cut for viewing. Cover the hole with hosiery. Place a small twig or two in the home for it to use during the pupation phase of its life. Take the children on a caterpillar hunt. Look for caterpillars on the leaves and stems of plants. For food, take a supply of leaves from the plant on which you found the caterpillar. Sprinkle the leaves with a little water and keep them in airtight containers in the refrigerator. Or take several small branches of the leaves and place them in water.
Cricket Bug Jug: Purchase crickets from a pet store or bait and tackle shop. Prepare a terrarium in a jar including: potato halves, potting soil, pebbles or gravel, plants, and a screen or cheesecloth to cover. Add moss so where babies can hide so the adults won't eat them. Feed them bits of fruit, vegetables and dry rabbit food. Keep a small container (jar lid) filled with water in the habitat. Create a section on crickets in their insect journals and make entries.
Pill Bug (Roly-polies) Jug: Have the students collect pill bugs, sticks and rocks. Place in a terrarium or jar layered with gravel (bottom), charcoal and potting soil. Place potato halves and plants inside for food. Place a screen or cheesecloth over the top. Mist daily with a spray bottle. The pill bugs will thrive if kept moist and out of direct sunlight.
Firefly Bug Jug: Have each child catch fireflies at home at night. Put a bright flashlight inside a white pillowcase and place it outside in the dark. When an insect lands, place the mouth of a jar over it. Slide an index card underneath the opening and turn the jar right side up. Replace the card with a clear plastic cover and use a pencil to punch small holes in the top for air. Have students bring the fireflies to class. Materials: Terrariums or jugs, cheesecloth, gravel, pebbles, potatoes, moss, leaves, magnifying glass, ruler, and insect viewing jar.
Centipede Incentive for Reading : Have children trace one of their hands on brightly colored paper and cut it out. With the fingers pointed downward, create a centipede by connecting the handprints as segments and adding a fanciful head to the first one. As you read books about garden creatures and bugs, write the titles on the hand shapes for a reading list display.
Materials: Construction paper or bright, heavy weight paper, scissors.
Caterpillars and Butterflies
Take a nature walk as a class to find cocoons. Collect a cocoon and bring it back to the classroom to be placed in the nature station for observation. Have the students note any changes in their insect journals.Discussion: What is a cocoon? What happens to a caterpillar when it leaves the cocoon?
Evaluation: Observation of participation in nature walk and insect journal entries.
Do a sequencing lesson of the life cycle of a butterfly beginning with eggs on a leaf, caterpillar stage, pupa or chrysalis stage to adult butterfly.
Discussion: What are the stages of the lifecycle of a butterfly? Describe each stage.
Evaluation: Observation of participation in the sequencing of the lifecycle of a butterfly.
Related Literature/ Discussion
- Read Charlie the Caterpillar by Dom Deluise and The Butterfly Collector by Naomi Lewis and discuss the two.
- Create a Venn Diagram showing the similarities and differences of butterflies and moths.
- Learn the difference between a caterpillar and a moth. (i.e. A butterfly spins a chrysalis, has straight antennae with knobby ends, is awake during the day and asleep at night and rests with its wings straight up versus a moth that spins a cocoon, has feathery antennae without knobs, is asleep during the day, and only comes out at night and rests with its wings flat.)
- Compare different kinds of butterflies such as monarch, red admiral, tiger swallowtail, common sulphur and painted lady
- What is the difference between a caterpillar and a moth?
- What are the similarities between a caterpillar and a moth?
- Name some different types of butterflies. How are they alike? How are they different?
Evaluation: Observation of participation in the completion of a Venn diagram.
Art/Music : Make butterflies to hang in the classroom
- Reproduce pattern on bright, heavy paper.
- Color and cut out.
- Attach a 12" length of fishing line near the center to balance.
- Decorate with glitter and ribbon. (Optional: Fold the butterfly. Have the children drop blobs of paint on one side of the crease and fold, rubbing it with their hands.)
- When dry, slip the butterflies between pairs of wooden chopsticks and tape the ends together. (Note: make sure the center of the butterfly is one to two inches shorter than the chopsticks.)
- Use with music, swinging the insects in circles and figure eights.
- Optional: Make mobiles with several butterflies hanging from each.
Butterfly shape metallic curling ribbon heavy paper
Wooden chopsticks fishing line tape
Optional: Tempera paint
Optional: coat hangers and yarn
- What is migration?
- Where does the monarch butterfly migrate?
- What do you think it would feel like to fly like a butterfly?
- What does a butterfly see as it flies in the city? In the country? Over the ocean? In the mountains?
Drama : Metamorphosis Play
Create a play to act out the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a butterfly using the following characters to be presented at the culminating activity. Cast:
- Nathan the narrator-a naturalist
- Betty butterfly-adult female butterfly
- Carlos the Caterpillar-a bright yellow and black caterpillar
- Iris Imago-beautiful, fully-grown butterfly
Discussion: What is metamorphosis? How does a caterpillar turn into a butterfly?
Evaluation: Participation in play during the culminating activity.
Writing: Create a butterfly shaped poetry bookMaterials: construction paper, heavy paper, crayons, colored pencils or markers, pencil, scissors, stapler
- Read the poems "The Caterpillar" by Christina G. Rossetti and "Caterpillars" by Aileen Fisher.
- Create a butterfly shaped book. Have students trace enough copies of the butterfly pattern to use as book pages. Provide each student with a copy of the pattern for the cover. Have students create their own caterpillar and butterfly poems and do illustrations on each book page. Combine the finished pages and staple them together along one edge.
- Share the poems with the class.
"The Caterpillar" by Christina G. Rossetti Brown
Furry Caterpillar in a hurry;
Take your walk
To the shady leaf or stalk.
May no toad spy you,
May the little birds pass by you;
Spin and die,
To live again a butterfly.
"Caterpillars" by Aileen Fisher
What do caterpillars do? Nothing much but chew and chew.
What do caterpillars know? Nothing much but how to grow.
They just eat what by and by Will make them be a butterfly,
But that is more than I can do However much I chew and chew.
1. How are the two poems similar? How are the two poems different?
2. What does a caterpillar look like?
3. What does a caterpillar like to eat?
4. What does a butterfly look like?
5. What does a butterfly like to eat?
Evaluation : Participation in discussion and individual poetry books.
Materials: Variety of cut fruits, large writing chart Read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. Bring various fruits to the classroom. Have the students classify the fruits according to shape, size, color and number. Create a fruit graph to categorize by color and number with the top column being red, yellow, blue, orange, purple, green and the vertical column being the numbers one through ten.
1.Most of the fruits are which color?
2. Which colors have the same number of fruits?
3. How many fruits are there all together?
4. Were any colors left out? Which colors?
5. Name some other fruits that were not brought to class. Tell what colors they are.
Divide students into groups of four and give each group an assortment of fruits. In their journals, have the students create a graph to record the following information on each fruit: Taste, feel, sound, smell, look, and name of fruit. Have each group share their findings.
Evaluation: Observation of participation during activity and individual fruit graphs.
Related Literature/Writing Activity
Read Chris Van Allsburg's Two Bad Ants. Observe how ordinary objects look from an ant's perspective. Discuss what your homes and classroom might look like to the bugs that enter them. Have students illustrate and write on the theme pattern a simple story about a bug's adventure in a classroom or home and include this in their insect journal.
1. How do things look from an ant's perspective? Are things big or small?
2. Describe what your home would look like to an ant.
3. Describe what your classroom would look like to an ant.
Evaluation: Observation of participation and individual insect journal entries.
Drama/Music: Ant Chant
First point out that all insects have three body parts and six legs. Then divide students into group of three to form ants: the first person is the head, the second person is the middle (thorax), and the third person is the stomach (abdomen). Have the second and third student place their hands on the shoulders of the child in front of them. Students practice walking together in rhythm, slowly chanting "left, right, left, right..." until their steps are together. Next, they try marching to the Ant Chant. Students take turns being the leader. Optional: They can make up their own chants. "Ant Chant" (slowly) Left and right, left and right, Ants work hard all day and night. Left and right, left and right, Don't get left, step just right. (repeat)
1. What is an ant colony?
2. Show a diagram of an ant's anatomy. Name the various parts of an ant body.
3. How many body parts does an ant have? How many legs?
Evaluation: Observation of participation.
Math : Ant problemsWrite some ant story problems on the board for students to solve such as: 16 ants on a log, 7 fell off. How many are left? 5 ants, 2 ants, 6 ants. How many altogether? 13 ants in the nest. 6 ants went out of the nest. How many ants were left in the nest? Have the students develop three story problems of their own.
Evaluation: Observation of participation.
Read the Bouncing Bug Book Bee by David Hawcock aloud to the class. Explain the different parts of a bee and the various roles of a bee within a hive.
Discussion: The roles of a bee within a hive include:
a. Cleaner- Her eyes are covered with hairs so she uses her antennae to guide her in cleaning and polishing cells and keeping brood warm.
b. Nurse bees- Mix pollen and honey to feed to older larva. She feeds young larva. She produces royal jelly.
c. Queen attendant- Cleans and feeds queen.
d. Packers-Stores pollen brought by field bees. They pound it down and press it into solid mass by butting it with their heads.
e. Builders- Have developed wax glands. They hang and wait for wax to ooze from glands to form honeycomb cells.
f. Trashman- Removes foreign material from honeycomb.
g. Ventilator-Only needed when combs are in danger of melting.
h. Control bees- They boss the queen and direct work out the colony.
i. Guard bees- Have sting glands full of venom ready for any intruders.
j. Scout- Seek out nectar sources.
k.Collectors- Gather nectar, pollen, water and propols for hive use.
l. Robbers- Take honey from weaker hives when needed.
Evaluation: Observation of participation in discussion.
Special Guest: Invite a Beekeeper to speak to the class
Material: Honey, crackers, breads and fruit drinks. Have he/she bring beehives to show and handle. Discuss the roles of a bee in a hive. Have the beekeeper show what they wear when working with the bees and have them demonstrate how they retrieve the honey. Have the class taste the honey on crackers and bread.
Discussion: What does a beekeeper wear? What are the roles of a bee in a hive?
Evaluation: Observation of participation.
Art & Music ConnectionMaterials: Finger-paints, drawing paper, cover-ups, cassette and tape player
Play a recording of "The Flight of A Bumblebee" and have students finger-paint pictures while they listen to the music.
1. When a bee is flying, what does it see?
2. Where does a bee like to fly?
3. What noise does a bee make? How?
4. How does a bee move?
5. If you were a bee, where would you like to go? What would you like to land on?
Evaluation: Observation of participation and participation in finger-painting.
Music ActivityMaterials: Musical instruments, pots, metal lids, wooden blocks, kazoos
Provide students with a variety of musical instruments or objects that can be used to make sounds (pots, metal lids, wooden blocks, etc.). Have students perform the following kinds of movements and sounds.
- Buzz like a bee.
- Chirp like a cricket.
- Zoom like a dragonfly.
- Wiggle like mosquito larvae.
- Jump like a flea.
- Inch along like a caterpillar.
- Break out of a cocoon like a butterfly.
1. What is it like to break out of a cocoon?
2. What is it like to buzz like a bee or chirp like a cricket?
3. How can musical instruments make insect sounds?
4. How does it feel to move like a bee? A butterfly? A flea?
Evaluation: Observation of participation with musical instruments and discussion.
Related Literature/Art Activity
Materials: Markers, crayons, colored pencils, paper Read to the class More Bugs in Boxes by David A. Carter. Encourage children to draw their own make-believe bug on a theme pattern. Suggest that they give it a funny name and write (or dictate) a funny fact about it. For example: The flider. A flider is a spider with wings. It can catch flies in mid-air!
1. If you could be any kind of bug, real or make believe, what would you be?
2. What would you do during the day? At night?
3. What is the craziest thing you'd do as an insect?
Evaluation: Informal observation of participation and bug drawings.
Math : Ladybug Spot Game
Materials: Ladybug shapes, dot stickers
Pass out ladybug shapes on paper. Have students add dot stickers to the pattern or color black dots on the pattern. (The number of dots will be determined by the math facts you are teaching.) Organize teams and pass out a ladybug to each player. Call out a number. The teams race to group players whose ladybug dots equal the number called. Score points for correct answers.
1. Specify a number that must be included in the total. Example: "The number is 9. You must use a 3 in your group."
2. Select students to demonstrate word problems. Have them hold ladybugs with the number of dots specified in the problem while another student writes the equation on the blackboard.
1. How many spots would there be in Mike's and Jenny's ladybugs landed on a leaf?
2. How many spots would be left it Jenny's ladybug flew away?
Evaluation: Observation of participation.
Materials: "Ladybug cards," crayons, markers, colored pencils. Read aloud The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle. Point out the facial expressions at the beginning and the end of the story. Talk about how faces show feelings. To reinforce this concept, the students can play a game. Make cards with ladybugs showing different expressions such as grouchy, happy, sleepy, scared, bored, and sad. For each student, reproduce the cards on sturdy paper. Have students color and cut out each card. Working in pairs or teams, the students place the cards face down. The first player draws a card and makes his face show the feeling of the ladybug on the card. The other player(s) try to guess which feeling is on the card. Students take turn making faces.
1. What does sad look like?
2. What does happy look like?
3. What does bored look like?
4. What does scared look like?
5. How do faces show feelings?
Evaluation: Observation of participation.
Bug Release: Ladybug, Ladybug, Fly Away Home!For an exciting and ecologically appropriate activity, release praying mantises, ladybugs and butterflies to provide some benefits to man. You can purchase these beneficial insects as eggs sacs, caterpillars, and ladybugs from Insect Lore Products at 1-800-LIVE BUG. Find an appropriate area to release these insects and coordinate your release with an Earth Day or Arbor Day celebration. Butterfly and ladybug kits: Order from Insect Lore Products, Inc., P.O. Box 1535, Shafer, California 93263 or The Nature Company 1-800-227-1114, $25.
1. How do insects help us?
2. What can we do to protect the lives of insects?
3. How can we promote the lives of insects?
4. Where do you think the insects we released will go?
Have students perform the play created earlier in the unit.
Party time! Have a bug bash to finish your unit! Take a picnic of Ants on a Log and Cracker Critters (recipes below). Make bug juice and call it "butterfly nectar" and serve it in a flower petal cup with a curly straw. Go someplace new for your outing. Form ants and centipedes in a bug brigade and say the Ant Chant as you walk. Compare and discuss bug journals and what they've students have learned during the unit. Refreshments: cracker critters, assorted crackers. Fillings: pretzel sticks, peanut butter, vegetable strips, spread-able cheese, carrot circles, cream cheese with pineapple, olives, cream cheese with ranch dressing. Spread a filling on the cracker and use the vegetables and pretzels to form legs, heads and spots. Encourage children to create names and stories for the critters.
Ants on a Log:
Ants: celery sticks, peanut butter, raisins, carrot sticks, flavored cream cheese, nuts, pretzel rods, cheese spread, jelly beans. Put a layer of spread on the "log" and place "ants" on top. Sing "The Ants Go Marching" as you make the logs.
Bug Juice in a Flower Petal Cup:
Serve this delicious drink in a flower petal cup with a straw and drink just like a butterfly does, sipping nectar through a tube-shaped tongue. Juice: 1/2 cup orange juice 1/2 cup cranberry juice Up to 1 tablespoon honey Mix the juices together, and taste first for sweetness before adding honey. Stir the honey until dissolved. Cup Materials: Scissors, colorful construction paper, measuring tape, large-size plastic cup, tape, plastic drinking straw To make flower petal cup: Cut a strip of paper that's 3 inches wide and long enough to circle the rim of the cup, plus 1 inch. (Use the measuring tape for this.) On one edge of the strip, cut scallops about 2 1/4 inches long, leaving a 3/4-inch border on the other edge. Shape each scallop into separate petals. Wrap the uncut edge of the petal strip around the plastic cup, and anchor it with tape. Fold the petals out one by one. Then pour in the nectar and serve it with a curly straw.
Bug Club Awards:
Present students with award certificates for all their hard work on the insect unit. Suggestions include: Bug Buddy Badge, Entomologist Award, and Official Insect Inspector. Present a magnifying glass to the classroom for students to use during the year whenever they are ready to inspect bugs.
1. The main evaluation for this unit will be the individual insect journals.
2. The teacher will informally assess participation by completing a daily log and checklist on each student.
3. Participation in the metamorphosis play, bug release and bug bash.
4. Oral presentation.
5. Bug Club activities completed.
Carle, Eric. The Honeybee and the Robber. New York: Philomel. 1981.
-----. The Hungry Caterpillar.
Carter, David A. Alpha Bugs. Intervisual. 1994.
Carter, David A. More Bugs in a Box. Harper Collins.
Deluise, Dom. Charlie The Caterpillar. New York: Simon & Schuster. 1990.
Evans, Katherine. The Ladybug Who Couldn't Fly Home. Chicago: Wilcox & Follett. 1945.
Facklam, Margery. Big Bug Book. Little, Brown. 1994.
French, Vivian. Caterpillar Caterpillar. Candlewick Press. 1993.
Garelick, May. Where Does The Butterfly Go When It Rains. Scholastic. 1961.
Gibbons, Gail. Monarch Butterfly. Holiday House. 1989.
Hariton, Anca. Butterfly Story. E. P. Dutton. 1995.
Hawcock, David and Lee Montgomery. Bee. Random House.
Hawes, Judy. Ladybug, Ladybug, Fly Away Home. Thomas Y. Crowell.
Hobermann, Mary Ann. Bugs. New York: Viking. 1976.
Lewis, Naomi. The Butterfly Collector. Prentice Hall, 1979.
Philpot, Lorna & Graham. Amazing Anthony Ant. Random House. 1994.
Ryder, Joanne. Where Butterflies Grow. E.P. Dutton. 1989.
Seymour, Peter. Insects: A Close Up Look. MacMillan, 1984.
Souza, D.M. Insects Around the House. Carolrhoda. 1991.
-----. Insects in the Garden. Carolrhoda Books, Inc. 1991.
Watts, Barrie. Ladybug. New Jersey: Silver Burdett. 1987.
Van Allsburg, Chris. Two Bad Ants. Houghton Mifflin.
Software & CDs
1. Bug Adventure . Knowledge Adventure, Inc. 1944. (CD-ROM - DOS & MS-Windows 3.1)
2. Carter, David. How Many Bugs in a Box? CD-ROM. Simon & Schuster Interactive, 1995. Includes counting, sorting, sequencing, memory skills, hand-eye coordination, and visual perception.
3. Eyewitness Encyclopedia of Nature . CD-ROM. DK Multimedia, 1995. The essential multimedia reference guide to the natural world.
4. McKissack, Patricia & Frederick. Big Bug Alphabet Book. Milliken. 1993. (CD- ROM- Mac)
5. Multimedia Bug Book . Workman Swifte. 1995. (CD-ROM - MPC or MAC).
1. Aunt Merriwether's Adventures in the Backyard . Sea Studios. Nature Company, 1992.
2. Bugs . Reading Rainbow. Narrated by Levar Burton. (approximately 30 minutes)
3. Insects . Eyewitness, 1994. Written by BBC Wildvision, BBC Lionheart Television. (approximately 35 minutes)
Hayes, Joe. Mariposa Mariposa. Trails West Publishing, 1988.
Murphy, Jane Lawliss. Songs About Insects, Bug & Squiggly Things. Kimbo Educational, 1993.
1. Markle, Sandra. "Creepy, Crawly Bugs". Parenting, April 1997. Pg 70+.
2. Planet Dexter, a Division of Addison Wesley Longman Publishing Company.
3. Planet Ant Kit. $15. Schatz, Dennis.
4. Build Your Own Bugs Book & Kit. Andrews and McMeel. 1995.
Who Lives In Your Garden? Bulletin Board :
Create a garden collage from a "bug's eye" view. On a sun shape, display the poem "Who Lives in Your Garden?" (below) or another favorite poem. Paper twist makes good leave and grass, especially when reinforced down the center with lightweight wire. Three-dimensional rocks can be made with burlap-covered cardboard or crumpled brown paper. Gift wrap or wallpaper for plants and flowers. Attach some of the pieces at one end so they may be lifted to reveal insects, slugs, and other hidden creatures. Add students' creations as they work on this unit. Write questions along the base such as what lives under a rock? What lives under a leaf? What lives in the grass?
Poem: "Who Lives in Your Garden" by Kimberlee Graves:
Who lives in your garden? Did you ever peek and see
All the wiggly, wormy wild things That beneath a rock might be?
Did you see a flash of wings When against a leaf you brushed?
Did you hear some insect music When the people voices hushed?
If you are very quiet The next time you're outside,
You'll have a chance to spy your guests Before they fly or hide.
A secret tiny world lives Down where the green things grow.
Who lives in your garden? I think you soon will know.
Growing and Changing Bulletin Board : To introduce the concept that people, plants and animals change as they grow. Display photo cards and magazine pictures of seed/full-grown plant; egg/baby bird/adult bird/ and egg/tadpole/frog. Talk about how each changes as it grows.
Bug Parts Bulletin Board : Enlarge the diagram of an ant, grasshopper, bee, caterpillar, butterfly and ladybug. Identify the various parts. Display appropriate papers from the unit.
Insect Book Interactive Bulletin Board : Display the insect books created by the teams.
This lesson plan is specific to science but integrates several other subject areas.