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This is a fun way to introduce insects to your students! Baby mantids are not capable of flight/biting,so your students will want to release them.
- Mantid eggsacks
- Live praying mantids preferred, but a model or video will substitute
- A short article on insects
- A second insect, such as a cockroach or beetle (optional)
- Video clip from United Streaming (or similar) on praying mantids
- Worksheet and pencil
- To understand the characteristics of insects.
- Eggsacks to be introduced several weeks before lesson. These should hatch in a few weeks of warm weather. Release babies as a class activity and save about 20 to raise in the classroom. There are up to 200 babies in an egg sack.
- Show video clip to the students (5 minutes)
- Pass out the insect article and popcorn read or read silently (5 minutes)
- Brainstorm characteristics of praying insects – whole class (5 minutes)
- Using worksheet 1, label the parts of the praying mantid in small groups. (5 minutes)
- Observe student progress and provide feedback if needed
- Peer review (5 minutes)
- Label the cockroach with at least six characteristics, two of which should be different from those used on the praying mantid. Students will draw their own arrows (10 minutes)
- Peer review (5 minutes)
- Complete worksheet 2 independently (15 minutes)
- Turn in completed worksheets.
A blank copy of worksheet 2 will be passed out as homework. The student will chose another insect and complete the worksheet.
Ideas for future lessons:
- Create a haiku poem about insects
- Write a multiparagraph essay about the three body parts (introduction, head, thorax, abdomen, conclusion)
- Make paper mache insects (real or imagined)
- Compare and contrast two insects using a Venn Diagram or double bubble map
- Compare and contrast insects and humans
Internet resources for students:
The Wonderful World of Insects – http://www.earthlife.net/insects/six.html [www.earthlife.net]
Insect Inspecta World - http://www.insecta-inspecta.com/ [www.insecta-inspecta.com]
Bug Bios - http://www.insects.org/ [www.insects.org]
Alien Empire - http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/alienempire/ [www.pbs.org]
Cool Bug Stuff - http://www.coolbugstuff.com/
- Review completed worksheet and/or homework (extra-class work).
- Create a free verse poem about 8 characteristics of insects.
- Short quiz.