How can you tell bees and wasps apart? Are flies friendly? Learning the bug basics is a natural part of childhood is a fun topic for any homeschool or classroom.
Today I’m sharing a new Interesting Insect Unit Study that I just posted in my Etsy Store. This unit is designed for Prek through 2nd grade but could easily be adapted to include older kids as well.
This unit highlights twelve interesting insects: what they have in common, their life cycles, anatomy, unique traits and how we can interact with them. Let’s check it out!
Learning goals for this insect unit:
Before we get started, here is the basic overview of the learning goals I had in mind when I designed this unit.
- Identify the general characteristics of each insect (appearance, habitat, diet, etc)
- Identify things that all insects have in common
- Outdoor exploration and observation
- Expand knowledge of insects through poetry, reading, and literature
- Gain a basic understanding of the word metamorphosis and the life cycle of insects
- Build general, age-appropriate skills through insect themed math, language arts, handwriting, poetry, and nature play
1. Identify twelve interesting insects.
This unit focuses on twelve insects: The Honey Bee, Queen Butterfly, Underwing Moth, Grasshopper, Stag Beetle, Mosquito, fly, Swallowtail Butterfly, Yellowjacket, Ladybug, Dragonfly, and Sugar Ant.
Kids more than likely know, or at least, are familiar with many of these insects. Hopefully this unit will be a catalyst for further interest, observation, and curiosity in the intriguing world of arthropods.
Which ones are friendly? Do they sting? Which insects are best to avoid? How can you tell certain ones apart? These are all questions that kids are working through as they are connecting their ideas with nature.
(There are fact cards and flashcards for each insect, as well as various activities for the animals. )
Note: while there are lots of activities and book lists included in this unit, feel free to add extra resources, books, or videos if your kids want to learn more about a particular insect!
2. What makes an insect an insect?
Insects all have six jointed legs, three main body parts (head, thorax, and abdomen), exoskeleton, compound eyes, and antennae. Most insects have wings, but not all.
Practice this and learn more by enjoying these large insect anatomy pages for the ant and the dragonfly!
3. Outdoor Exploration
Like with any nature unit, the content comes to life when it is connected with real-life, outdoor experiences.
On this day, we took our books outside and found this beautiful dragonfly shell in our garden. It was perfectly in tact and we were able to hold it and look closely at its jointed legs and exquisitely-veined, transparent wings.
Where do you find these things? Just keep your eyes open! You never know what you are going to stumble upon.
4. Expand knowledge of insects through poetry, reading, and literature.
If you do nothing else than explore outside and read a stack of quality books, then you have all to need to get started on a great nature study.
In this pack, I’ve got a list of book ideas (picture books and reference books), as well as, poetry. Also. I had the idea to make some hand puppets to go along with the poems and I’m glad I did. Our five year old loved having a hand-held visual for our poetry time.
Additionally, there is poem copy work for the older kids in both print and cursive.
5. Gain a basic understanding of the word metamorphosis
What is larva? And what happens after the pupa stage? Learn the metamorphosis of the Swallowtail butterfly as well as, the Honey Bee. Learn the vocabulary and see the different stages first hand.
6. Build general, age-appropriate skills through insect themed math, language arts, handwriting, poetry, art, and nature play.
(The reason I kept them separate was for those who only wanted to use this unit as a science, nature-study resource.)
The Interesting Insect Unit includes:
– Interesting Insects book list
– List of activities
– Insect poetry, handwriting pages, and puppets
– vocabulary cards
– Insect poster
– 2-part flashcards
– All insects have page
– Insect facts cards (12 common insects)
– Honey Bee Life cycle
– Swallowtail Butterfly life cycle
– Dragonfly and Ant anatomy labeling activities
– Compare and contrast bees and wasps
– Color the other side (Queen Butterfly & Underwing Moth)
– Insect reporting pages
– Insects memory game
– Outdoor Scavenger Hunt
– Word Search
– Ladybug and Stag Beetle Puzzles
– How to draw a house fly
– Build a garden insect scene
Interesting Insect Unit Download
This is a great unit study idea for homeschool or classroom use! You can download the Interesting Insects Nature Unit and get started today.
What is your kid’s favorite insect?
More Resources on Nature Study
- Five Simple Outdoor Winter Nature Activities for Kids
- Printable Nature Sorting Mats
- Books to Get you Started on Nature Study
- Printable Garden Journal and Activity Pages
- Ways to Make Geology Fun for Kids
- 33 Ways to Help You Get Started on Nature Study
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