Nothing grabs a kid's attention like a bug!
If you are ready to start your insect and spiders unit I have some fun ideas below, plus websites and games that will add just a little bit of creepy crawly fun into your unit. Oh! Don't miss the Freebies!
Integrate, Integrate, Integrate!
Bugs and insects are more than just a science subject! The thing I love the most about the insect and spiders unit is how easy it is to integrate it into all of the other subjects.
It's really easy to make math story problems into bug problems. Any grade, and any strand of math can be made into great (and fun) story problems. Your kids don't like story problems you say...just wait until those story problems are about bugs!
2. Social Studies:
If you are studying a country, research insects and spiders that live there. How are insects used in that country? Are they eaten? Is there folklore about insects there? If you are studying economics, how do insects impact that countries economy in either good or bad ways. A google search will help you here.
3. Language Arts:Stories (both fiction and nonfiction) are all over the place! A look in your school or local library will give you access to bunches!
a. Do a "Bug Book Tasting" Get at least as many bug books as you have students. Scatter them around the room on desks, tables etc. Ask students to start at any book. They have two minutes to look through the book, read a couple of pages, then when the bell rings they move on to the next book. Do this about ten times. It will spur their interest in some of the books enough to make them want to read the whole book. This is fun to do with any topic.
b. Use insect/spider articles that are free online for guided reading. Copy and print enough copies of the article for all members of the group. Check readability by copy and printing text into: http://www.lefthandlogic.com/htmdocs/tools/okapi/okapi.php Make sure you click either spache for grades 1-3 or Dale-Chail for grades 4 and up. There are LOTS of sites online. Here are couple of good ones.
This site is great for upper elementary. It's full of amazing fact articles kids will love. http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/bugs/
Good Enough to Eat? This article about eating insects will interest any upper elementary student! There is also a teacher's guide at the bottom. http://www.timeforkids.com/news/article-good-enough-eat/99001
That gives you a "taste" of what's online. There's articles for any reading level.
If you are studying any skill in grammar, add bug pictures to it and watch you kids eyes light up! Here are two freebies to stick in your bug unit! Click on the link below the pictures to pick it up for free in my store.
Just reading the text book can be pretty dry, and suck the fun out of any unit. (sorry, is my bias showing??) Adding kids' magazine articles, interesting facts and videos certainly help get the information through (even to those reluctant learners), but you need reinforcement too. Have you tried task cards? If not, think of them as a small "bit" of information at a time. For example, it could be a question with multiple choice answers. Some have an essay answer. The point is that the skill is broken down into tiny parts. That makes task cards much less intimidating than worksheets. They can be done alone, with a partner, in groups, or with a game. Try using a simple game like pick-up-sticks with your task cards. Students can only take their turn when they answer a question correctly. Making your own task cards works well when you want to tailor your cards to your curriculum needs. Use the free task card form below to make your own. Really, they are not hard!! Download the google.doc below and copy it as many times as you need to make 20, 30 or as many task cards as you like. Use a sharpie to write your questions, cut apart and laminate. They will last a l-o-n-g time! If you would like a set of task cards on insects and spiders that is already done (that includes a teaching unit) click Here
Another fun way to reinforce information is through PowerPoints. If you haven't used PowerPoint before, don't let it intimidate you. It takes about 15 minutes to get the basics by just playing with it. A Powerpoint is fun to use as a class project. Show the slide and ask students to write the answer, then check the answer. They are a great way to test students too. It doesn't feel like a test. If you would like a PowerPoint on insects and spiders already done click Here
Adding activities and videos to your insect/spider unit really hikes up the interest level. Here are a few great sites:
If you have any other ideas/sites for insects and spiders, be sure to list them below!!