10 Ways to Explore Bugs in Elementary

Is there a difference between bugs and insects is one of the first questions we asked when thinking about bugs season. Bugs are a type of insect:

“True bugs have a stylet (a mouth shaped like a straw) that they use to suck juices from plants. Insects belong to the class Insecta and they are characterized by three-part bodies, usually two pairs of wings, and three pairs of legs, (e.g., bees and mosquitoes). Arthropods (spiders, ticks, centipedes, etc.) is a separate phylum from bugs and insects. All of this does not mean that you are wrong to call various insects bugs; because of the common usage of this meaning, it is certainly acceptable.”

Thanks Dictionary.com for the clarification. I will be using the term bugs as a collective term for those interesting creatures our students either love or detest. Regardless of your affection for them, bugs are part of our life and are a wonderful theme to delve into. Here are some curriculum options:

1.Match lower and upper case letters with ladybug letters.

2. Learn the story of the Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly (and other things) with a flannel board set. The mouth has a hidden pocket so she does seem to be swallowing whole objects.

3. If you are including butterflies, Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a beautiful book and a firm favourite with students. A storytelling prop set can be found here.

4. Make a wanted poster for a bug using research skills as they learn about the characteristics, diets, habitats, and habits of a variety of bugs.

5. Create a bug journal to record bugs spotted around your school, record the date and bug characteristics, varying structure depending on your student’s needs.

6. All the legs make for good counting opportunities. Backyard Bugs counters can be used to sort by type or colour and of course reinforce counting activities.

7. Bug hunting outside is a must but looking at specimens that do not move can make closer inspection a little easier. Bug blocks are real bugs encased in acrylic.

8. The life cycle of a ladybug will show you step by step how this adorable, lucky creature transforms from a tiny egg into a beautiful red and black spotted ladybug. Other life cycle resources can be found here.

9. The Insect x-ray and picture cards show 3 different views. The top and the underside of bugs have been photographed and printed on sturdy, laminated card stock and x-rays reveal their organs.

10. Rubbing plates can be used to create some beautiful bug artwork!

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