Insects and Arachnids Lesson Plan: Which is Which?

Submitted by: Toya Gordon

Grade Levels: 3-5, 6-8

In this lesson plan, which is adaptable for grades 3-8, students use BrainPOP resources to distinguish between insects and arachnids based on their physical features. Students will also describe and label the important physical features of insects and arachnids, and use their knowledge of arthropods to invent a new kind of insect and arachnid.

Lesson Plan Common Core State Standards Alignments

Students will:

  1. Distinguish between insects and arachnids based on their physical features.
  2. Describe and label the important physical features of insects and arachnids.
  3. Use knowledge of arthropods to invent a new kind of insect and arachnid.

Materials:

  • BrainPOP access
  • Plastic insects and arachnids
  • New Arthropod worksheet (download below under 'Worksheets')
  • Compare graphic organizer
  • Interactive whiteboard (optional)
  • Pictures of insects and arachnids for whiteboard (optional)

Vocabulary:

invertebrate, arthropods, antennae, compound eye, mandibles, thorax, abdomen, cephalothorax, spinnerets, jointed legs, exoskeleton

Preparation:

Make a class set of copies of the BrainPOP Compare graphic organizer and the New Insect and New Arachnid worksheets (download below under 'Worksheets'.) If using an interactive whiteboard, search online for clear pictures of insects and arachnids.

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Have students sit in a circle. Place the plastic arthropods in the middle of the circle. Explain that they are all animals, but there are two distinct types in the circle.
  2. Ask for a few volunteers to see if they are able to think of a way to separate the animals into two groups, and to explain their thinking. After a few attempts, tell them that are all arthropods, which are invertebrates that have an exoskeleton, jointed legs, and segmented body parts. Some are insects, and some are arachnids, and they are going to learn more about their physical characteristics to be able to tell between the two.
  3. If using a whiteboard, have the images on the screen, and have the students move them into two groups instead of using plastic arthropods.
  4. Hand out the Compare sheet, and tell students to write down physical characteristics of insects in the first column while they are watching.
  5. View the Insects video. After the video, discuss the physical characteristics the students have noted.

Extension Activity:

To modify the lesson, you could cut pieces of paper into different shapes, and have students choose different paper choices to create new arthropods. You could also have the students use Model Magic to create the new arthropods and have an "Arthropod Garden" in your classroom.

Students can also view the BrainPOP videos on Invertebrates and/or Spiders, or the BrainPOP Jr. video on Butterflies.

Downloadable Resources:

newarachnid.doc
newinsect.doc