Going Buggy!

Grade Level: Second


Brief Summary of Unit:

Second graders will explore the world of insects.  This multi-disciplinary unit consists of many hands-on and cooperative learning activities.  Through these activities, the students will gain an awareness for the many types of insects including those that are helpful, harmful, and social.  The students will also learn the distinguishing characteristics of an insect and the life cycle, metamorphosis.


Lesson One: Catching Their Attention

Objectives:  Students will realize what is necessary to raise a painted lady butterfly.  Students will recognize a butterfly’s needs.  Students will be introduced to the world of insects.

Activity:  During fall registration, each student will receive a painted lady butterfly larva.  Explain that we’re going to be studying insects, and they will be responsible for raising, researching and releasing this butterfly.

Assessment:  Teacher will use classroom observation to determine if the students are properly caring for their butterflies. 

Materials: painted lady butterfly kit from this site: http://www.earthsbirthday.org for students to observe the life cycle of a butterfly;


Lesson Two/Daily until Butterflies are Released: Raising, researching, releasing

Objective:  Students will realize what is necessary to raise a painted lady butterfly.  Students will translate the importance of a butterfly’s surroundings to its development.  Students will recognize a butterfly’s needs.  Students will reflect on removing a butterfly from its natural environment.

Activity:  Metamorphosis Magic Teacher Background: **Note** This lesson is not meant to be intimidating.  The discussions and questions will take place in a time frame that individual teachers will determine.  The journaling and recording of information will be done daily.  I will introduce the Unit by presenting my Power Point.  We will discuss each stage as we go through the presentation.  We will begin raising our butterflies.  The students will work as a class to care for the butterflies.  The students will keep data on changes that they observe. These observations will be completed daily. The students will make predictions on when the butterflies will hatch.   Explain to the students that animals have adaptations which enable them to survive in their environment.  Explain that animals go through a series of changes from egg to the adult stage, which is capable of producing the next generation.  This series of changes is called the life cycle.  Explain that many types of animals do not depend upon the adult parent to care for them during their immature stages.  Explain that plants and animals depend upon each other in a community.
     When the caterpillars reach the chrysalis stage, they will fasten themselves to the top of the butterfly house.  After several days, depending upon the temperature of your room, the chrysalises will begin to gently twitch.  They will become slightly translucent, and then the amazing transformation will become apparent as the butterflies start to emerge. 
     A reddish fluid called meconium will stain the floor of the butterfly house.  The butterfly releases this fluid when it pumps its wings.  The butterfly won’t fly until its wings dry out.
     Students will observe the long drinking tube called a proboscis unfurl as the butterflies sip the sugar water.
     Discuss the fact that butterflies don’t have live babies but lay eggs upon leaves.                                                
 Students: Using the butterfly house each day, the students will be responsible for observing the butterfly larva.  They will need to give a complete description of the caterpillar, including its size.  Students will use a paper ruler to measure the caterpillar in the cup, without removing and possibly harming it.  They can fold the ruler and place it alongside the larva. Once the butterfly emerges, it can feed on sugar water that has been placed in a shallow bowl until its release.  Students will chart their information on a table and in a butterfly journal. The teacher and students will discuss the following questions: Where would a butterfly find a sweet liquid like the sugar outside? (Nectar from flowers.)  Why do butterflies need such long straw like jaws? (To reach inside the flower petals for the nectar.)  What could get picked up by the butterfly as it sat upon a flower? (Pollen)  Does anyone think that the butterfly looks like the larva that it used to be?  What does the word “metamorphosis” mean? (a complete form change).  Do people go through metamorphosis?  How do you know?  What is the advantage of metamorphosis?  (It enables the species to use two different sources of food—plant leaves and nectar—and thus is an adaptation which increases the survival of the species.) Why don’t butterflies have live babies but lay eggs upon leaves?  (When the tiny caterpillars hatch, they don’t have to look for food.  That is the total extent of the care given by a mother butterfly to its young.)  Why are so many eggs laid?  (Most are eaten by ants and some spiders, or destroyed by smaller insects which lay their eggs inside the butterfly eggs.  When the insect’s larvae hatch, they eat the butterfly eggs.)

Assessment: This will be done over the duration of the unit and will include teacher observation, checking the journal entries for information accuracy and correct sentence structure (i.e. punctuation, spelling, capital letters, use of vocabulary), completion of a butterfly life cycle work sheet

Materials:  Butterfly House from http://www.earthsbirthday.org/;  Cooperative Learning: Science, Scholastic Professional Books (includes data worksheet and paper centimeter ruler); student journals from http://www.starfall.com ; digital camera to document growth.



Lesson Three:  Introduction to Insects

Objectives:  Students will develop an awareness of physical attributes and characteristics which define an insect and the roles that they play within our world.

Activity:  Tell the students that we will be studying insects.  Explain that we’ll be completing student insect worksheets that will be put into a booklet that they can keep.  Give each student a KWhL chart.  Explain that a KWhL chart is used to help identify things that they already know and what they would like to learn.  The K section stands for things that I KNOW about insects.  The Wh is for things that I WANT to know about insects and how I might learn this things.  The L is for things that I LEARNED about insects.  Have the children complete the K and W sections on their charts.  On an overhead transparency create a class KWhL chart.  Remember to leave the L section blank and fill it in at the end of the unit. 

Assessment:  Teacher will check students’ charts for completion and correctness.  Teacher will observe the students and evaluate them on participation in group discussion.

Materials:  overhead projector; KWhL charts for students (may make your own or obtain one from the following website: http://www.ckcolorado.org/units/2nd_grade/2_whatsbuggingyou.pdf





Lesson Four:  Insect Inspectors/Bug Trappers

Objective:  Students will remove insects from their natural environment in order to explore their structures and behaviors and to recognize what insects are common in our area.

Activity: Write the definition of an insect on the board.  Encourage the students to help with this (shared pen).  Tell the students that we’re going to pretend to be entomologists (scientists who study insects).  Make a bug catcher to observe insects.  Cut off the top 4 inches of a 2-liter plastic soda bottle.  Place half of an over-ripe banana in the bottom part of the bottle.  Insert the top part of the bottle backward into the bottom part.  Lay the bug catcher on its side on the soil for 6 to 8 hours.  Observe the bug catcher as often as possible during the 6 to 8 hours.  Use the website http://www.insectainspecta.com to help identify the insects that enter the bug catcher.  Observe and discuss the body parts of the insects.  At the end of the experiment, release insects where you found them.  Study insects in different locations by placing the bug catchers in different areas.  Have each student prepare a page that contains information about one of the insects that entered the bug catcher.  Include the common name of the insect, a written and visual (may use the digital camera) description, the location, and any miscellaneous information.

Assessment:  teacher observation (including group participation), ability to label body parts on a diagram

Materials: empty, clean 2-liter soda bottles; over-ripe bananas; diagram to label body parts of an insect (create your own or go to website noted in lesson three)



Lesson Five:  Helpful and Harmful Insects

Objective: Students will become aware of the roles that insects play within our world.

Activity:  Tell students that we’re going to learn about how insects affect people.  Ask if students think that insects are helpful or harmful.  On the board, generate a class list of ways that insects are harmful and ways that insects are helpful.  Watch a video on helpful and harmful insects.  After the video, add additional information to the list on the board.  Students will complete a worksheet on helpful/harmful insects.

Assessment: Teacher will check student’s answers for completion and correctness.  Using a rubric, teacher will observe the students and evaluate them on class discussion participation.

Materials:  video on helpful and harmful insects; worksheet on helpful/harmful insects (may make your own or use one from website noted in lesson three); rubric from http://www.teach-nology.com




Lesson Six:  Harmful Insects **Note**This lesson will encompass more than one class period.

Objective:  Students will become aware of the roles that insects play within our world.  Students will be open to the idea that insects may or not be beneficial.

Activity:  Review previous lesson.   Explain that today we’re going to learn about harmful insects.  Give information about and show picture of a mosquito.  Look at mosquito worksheet.  Read through mosquito information as a class.  Fill in the insect chart information (name of insect, what it eats, where it lives, interesting fact).  Complete the steps above for the following insects:  locusts, aphids, flies, termites, and wasps.  After completing all worksheet and insect charts on the harmful insects, have students form groups and review the insects.  Have them ask questions, such as: Why are mosquitoes considered harmful? (They spread diseases and germs.)  What are the names of two harmful insects? (answers vary)  What insect is known for being small and destroying plants? (Aphids.)  Next, give each student a pattern of one of the harmful insects.  Have them write two facts about that insect, including why it is harmful, on the pattern.  Students will color and cut out the insect.  Display.

Assessment:  Teacher will grade student worksheets for completion and accuracy on the harmful insects.  Teacher will observe students during the writing activity.  Teacher will observe student participation in class review session.

Materials:  student worksheets; insect chart; harmful insect patterns (design your own or use those found at website from lesson three)



Lesson Seven:  Helpful Insects **Note**This lesson will require more than one class period.

Objectives: Students will develop an awareness of the benefits and disadvantages of insects.

Activity:  Recap the last lesson.  Next, tell the students that today we’ll be talking about helpful insects.  Ask, “How are some insects helpful?” (Pollinate crops, make silk, eat aphids, etc.)  Discuss and show picture of a butterfly.  As a class, read through the worksheet information about butterflies.  Fill in the insect chart (insect name, what it eats, where it lives, an interesting fact).  Students will read and complete the student worksheet about the butterfly.  Do the above activities with the following insects:  ladybug, bee, grasshopper, and ant. When you’ve completed all worksheets and insect charts on the helpful insects, put students in small groups to review the insects.  Ask questions.  Once the students have completed the review session, pass out a helpful insect pattern to each student.  Have them write two facts about that insect including why it is helpful on the pattern.  Color and cut out the insect.  Display next to harmful insects.

Assessment:  Teacher will grade student worksheets for completion and accuracy.  Teacher will observe student’s participation and completion in the helpful insect writing activity.  Teacher will observe participation during the cooperative groups exercise.

Materials:  insect chart; worksheet with picture of each helpful insect in lesson.  You may design your own or obtain one from the website in lesson three.


Lesson  Eight:  Metamorphosis Magic

Objectives:  Students will understand that there is a sequence of events in a natural cycle.  Students will identify stages of a butterfly life cycle in the correct order.  Students will create a butterfly from art materials provided.

Activity:  Discuss and review what students have learned about caterpillars and butterflies.  Ask, “What does a butterfly begin life as?”  Show power point and Kidspiration of butterfly’s life cycle. Discuss the life cycle of a butterfly and what that life cycle is called (metamorphosis).  Read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.  As the book is read, have students predict what the caterpillar will do next, what foods he will eat, etc.  Point out the life cycles as they take place.  Have students retell the life cycle as teacher writes them on the board.  Create butterflies.  Pass out butterfly pattern.  Cover the pattern with wax paper.  Paint tissue paper squares into wax paper with diluted glue.    Fill completely.  Make two to three layers of tissue, dry overnight.  Carefully peel away wax paper.  Students read and complete worksheets on metamorphosis.

Assessment:  Teacher will check student worksheets on metamorphosis for accuracy and completion.  Teacher will observe student involvement in class activities and discussion.  Using a rubric, teacher will check students butterfly art lesson.

Materials: book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle; tissue paper torn into small squares; glue; water; wax paper; butterfly pattern; metamorphosis worksheet (create your own, or use http://www.abcteach.com or website from third lesson)



Lesson Nine:  Ladybugs

Objectives:  Students will reflect on the characteristics of a good friend.  Students will produce a document that exhibits good composing skills.

Activity:  Read The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle. Discuss the story. (What is the story about?”  “What happens at the end?” etc.)  Write a story about being a friend to the ladybug in this story.

Assessment:  Teacher will check student’s writing for proper mechanical usage (capitalization, sentence structure, spelling, etc.)

Materials:  book The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle; handwriting paper


Lesson Ten:  Ants

Objectives:  Students will make sense of how the structure and behavior of insects enables them to survive.  Students will discover that insects interact within our environment.

Activity:  As a class, brainstorm about and list types of insects that live in groups (ants, bees, wasps, termites).  Discuss if anything else lives in a group (humans).  Using website http://home.att.net/~b-p.TRUSCIO/STRANGER.htm , compare insect jobs with human jobs.  Read and discuss Ant Cities by A. Durros.  Complete worksheet on ants.

Assessment:  Teacher will grade worksheet for accuracy and completion.  Teacher will observe student participation in discussions and activities (using a rubric)

Materials:  book Ant Cities by A.Durros; rubric from http://www.teach-nology.com ; worksheet (design yourself or use this website : http://www.ckcolorado.org/units/2nd_grade/2_whatsbuggingyou.pdf



Lesson Eleven:  Bees II

Objectives:  Students will become aware that some insects live solitary lives while others are social.

Activity:  Read and discuss Hooray for Beekeeping! By Bobbie Kalman.  Pair students and complete a beehive worksheet.  In top section write “Bees”, and in second and third sections students write two facts about bees.  In bottom section, draw a bee using finger tip dipped in yellow paint.  Add details with markers.

Assessment: Teacher will check worksheet for completion and accuracy.  Teacher will observe student’s participation and completion in helpful insect activity.  Teacher will observe participation as students work in cooperative groups.

Materials:  book Hooray for Beekeeping! By Bobbie Kalman; beehive worksheet (http://www.ckcolorado.org/units/2nd_grade/2_whatsbuggingyou.pdf); yellow paint; markers



Lesson Twelve:  Butterfly Poem

Objectives:  Students will use demonstrate the ability to relay information about an insect.

Activity:  Students will create an acrostic poem using the word BUTTERFLY.  The poem must contain information that they have learned from this unit.  Students will read this poem to other students in class.  Display.

Assessment: Teacher will check for completion of all tasks, accuracy of information, neat penmanship, and quality of work.

Materials:  Butterfly Acrostic Worksheet available from www.abcteach.com



Lesson Thirteen:  Excel Insect Graph

Objectives:  Student will predict what insect other students would choose to be.

Activity:  Use this activity as an introductory lesson on creating graphs.  Working with a partner, the students will survey the students in kindergarten through fifth grade as to what insect they would choose to be.  Teacher will help the students set up a spreadsheet with the following information: favorite insect; grade surveyed; insect species; number of participants; ant; bee; butterfly; dragonfly; firefly; locust;  and termite.  As a class, convert the spreadsheet into a bar graph.  Give the document a title and transfer the graph to a word document.

Assessment:  Students will be evaluated on the accuracy of the graph.

Materials:  computer; graph (may see a sample at http://www.st-thomas.k12.sd.us  link on second grade)



Lesson Fourteen:  Insect Play

Objectives:  Students will participate in a review session on insects.  Students will participate in a play on insects.  Students will complete the KWhL chart.

Activity:  Use review questions on insects using Jeopardy Power Point.  Also Play Kidspiration Super Grouper.  When review is complete, students will finish the KWhL chart.  List 4-5 facts in the L section.  Perform the play for parents and other grades.  Afterward, serve “insect” refreshments.

Assessment:  Observe student participation.

Materials:  KWhL chart; insect play (http://www.ckcolorado.org/units/2nd_grade/2_whatsbuggingyou.pdf); Jeopardy Power Point; Kidspiration (http://www.st-thomas.k12.sd.us)