Going Bug-gy! Teacher's Guide
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5
"Going Buggy!" is a collection of activities and resources intended as an overview of the study of insects and bugs. The study of bugs offers young students the opportunity to cover basic science concepts and skills, such as classification, observation, and responses to habitat. This project introduces bugs in general with a field observation activity, narrowing the focus to the study of a particular species - the colorful butterfly. "Going Buggy" is organized to meet the diverse needs of many types of classrooms and schedules. Activities can be done in isolation without having to work through the entire project. Students can organize all their work into a bug portfolio for review at the end of the project. Activities in "Going Bug-gy!" have been developed to meet the needs of most learners from grades K-4. However, suggestions for modifying some activities have been made at point of use in order to meet the particular needs of more specific grade ranges.
- Ask questions about bugs, their behavior, and their habitats
- Observe and record information about bugs
- Classify bugs by identifying major structures common to them
- Use technology to find out about the parts of a bug's body
- Understand how living things interact with or cause changes to their environment
- Demonstrate knowledge of bugs with a written or drawn response
- Going Buggy Online Activities
A wealth of activities set out to foster positive attitudes toward conservation. Students develop observation and classifying skills as they investigate habits of tiny bugs. Field research, habitat construction, and arts and crafts extension activities are highlights.
- Play Monster Bugs!
Familiarize students with insect anatomy by having them take part in an interactive bug-assembly game. Students learn fascinating bug facts with the help of Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus and create six different types of insects from their component parts: head, body, and wings. Students can also create "Monster Bugs" by mixing the various parts. Note: Your computer must be equipped with speakers and Shockwave 7 to play the more interactive version of this activity.
- Meet Eve Bunting
Students meet the author of the new book Butterfly House, a fictional account that complements the non-fiction bug theme. An excerpt of Ms. Bunting's new book is provided. The author also discusses her life and how she became a writer.
- Talk Bugs With the Friz
Students can visit an archive of a past interview with Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus to read questions and answers about bugs.
- All About Bugs
Scholastic's Article Archive furnishes students with numerous articles about the insect world. These articles, taken from award-winning classroom magazines like Scholastic's SuperScience Blue and Science World, provide students with information they need for a journal entry on bugs.
- Butterfly Symmetry
Study the structure of butterfly wings as students make copies of their own.
- Tricky Butterfly Hunt
Practice viewing skills by searching for student-made paper butterfly models
- Butterflies and Moths (PDF)
Discover the differences and similarities between butterflies and moths.
- Migrating Monarchs
Investigate the migrating habits of the monarch butterflies and the issues that threaten their already declining numbers. Infer stages in the life cycle of a monarch butterfly by playing a board game.
Project Introduction (1 day)
Ask students what they already know about insects, and what they would like to know. Organize student input on a K-W-L chart on poster paper. Display the poster of student questions on the wall to use as a reference throughout the course of the project.
Field Research on Minibeasts (3 days)
Remind students of the questions of the day before. Read aloud from the K-W-L chart. Then invite the class on a bug field trip to discover answers to some of their questions.
You may wish to focus the "Going Bug-gy!" project on the minibeast activity, but if time is a constraint, follow the modified lesson plan below. Before you journey on your bug field trip:
- Scroll down the minibeast lesson plan and read about the habitat you want to research.
- Read aloud with students the "Being a Good Observer" section to inform them on safe handling of bugs and their habitats. While students are observing bugs in the field, ask questions from the section under "Being a Good Observer."
Grades 2-4: Have students take notes as they observe.
Return to the classroom and the K-W-L poster from the day before. Ask students if they can answer any of the questions. Have they learned anything previously unknown? You may wish to inspire discussion by asking questions from the "Investigations" section of the Minibeasts activity.
Invite students to respond to their field research by assigning the drawing activity from the presentation section. Display any art activities prominently in the classroom. Grades 2-4: You may wish to assign an additional activity from the presentation section.
Bug Bodies (4 days)
Have pairs of students play the Monster Bug Game. Instruct students to use technology to put together body parts and make a real or unique bug. When they are finished with their bugs, have students print out a copy. Then students can share their bug with the whole class. Encourage them to discuss reasons for each body part they choose: head, wings, body, legs. The student audience may want to ask: What are its habits? Where does it live? What facts do you know about the bug? Have students add relevant responses to the K-W-L poster.
Bug Focus: Butterfly (2-3 days)
Return to the discussion about bugs and the K-W-L poster. Have students discuss any specific bugs that they've learned a lot about. Deepen students' knowledge of insects by focusing on one species: the butterfly. Ask students who have learned a lot about the species to inform the class with facts. Begin a new K-W-L poster about butterflies. Then instruct individual students or small groups to visit butterfly photo galleries.
Butterfly Habitat (4 days)
Now that students have taken part in building background on butterflies, invite them to build a butterfly habitat. Visit Butterflies Are Pretty Tricky. (Use flowers instead of seeds if time is a constraint.) Lead students to follow the step-by-step activity inspired by the episode "The Magic School Bus Takes a Ride on the Busserfly." Once it's built, keep a daily log that records the kinds of bugs and butterflies students see and how the bugs use the habitat.
Grades K-1: Younger students can keep a pictorial log.
Butterfly Fiction (2 days)
Inspire further interest in the butterfly habitat by reading aloud the Butterfly House by Eve Bunting.
Grades K-2: Ask younger students to draw a picture of their favorite scene or of the scene depicted in the excerpt. Have them label their work. Ask students to discuss how the information from the book might help them with their habitat.
Butterfly Activities (2-3 days)
After students have had a chance to discuss and view butterflies, invite them to take part in one or more of the following teacher-led Butterfly activities:
Butterfly Symmetry: Study the structure of butterfly wings as students make copies of their own.
Tricky Butterfly Hunt: Practice viewing skills by searching for student-made paper butterfly models
Butterflies and Moths (PDF): Discover the differences and similarities between butterflies and moths.
Migrating Monarchs: Investigate the migrating habits of the monarch butterflies and the issues that threaten their already declining numbers. Infer stages in the life cycle of a monarch butterfly by playing a board game.
Butterfly Expert: Eve Bunting (2-3 days)
Revisit the events and activities from the Butterfly House lesson. Read aloud the biography on Eve Bunting. Have students discuss questions they would like to ask the author. Suggest that students' questions address: Butterfly House, the author's knowledge of butterflies, or her life as a writer. Have students refer to the transcript of the interview. If students' questions are not answered, encourage students to draw conclusions about possible answers. Discuss relevant issues that were raised in the interview.
Butterfly Expert: Ms. Frizzle (1 day)
Ask students to discuss what they know about Ms. Frizzle and The Magic School Bus. Solicit questions students would like to ask Ms. Frizzle and write them on the chalkboard. Then read the transcripts of an interview with the Friz from last year. If students' questions are not answered, have students ask them of the class. Encourage classmates to provide possible responses. Ask children to tell the source of their responses.
Project Wrap-Up (1-4 days)
Grades K-2: Invite students to share their bug portfolios during a teacher-student interview. Challenge them to discuss what they've learned from their work with the K-W-L chart. Have students include a diagram of a bug they've learned about. Diagrams should feature callouts. Set aside time to help younger students label the callouts.
Grades 2-4: Invite older students to write a journal entry on what they have learned about the insect world, or about butterflies in particular. Help them navigate through the Article Archive if they would like to further inform their writing. You may wish to have them visit the Descriptive Writing workshop for a more formal lesson on the journal writing process
Supporting All Learners
This project aids students in meeting national standards in several curriculum areas.
National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the International Reading Association (IRA) include:
- Students read a wide range of print and non-print texts to build an understanding of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment.
- Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
- Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
- Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.
- Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).
National Council of Science Teachers (NCST)
Regulation and Behavior
- All organisms must be able to obtain and use resources, grow, reproduce, and maintain stable internal conditions living in a constantly changing external environment.
- Behavior is one kind of response an organism can make to an internal or environmental stimulus. A behavioral response requires coordination and communication at many levels, including cells, organ systems, and whole organisms. Behavioral response is a set of actions determined in part by heredity and in part from experience.
- An organism's behavior evolves through adaptation to its environment. A species moves, obtains food, reproduces, and responds to danger based on the species' evolutionary history.
Populations and Ecosystems
- A population consists of all individuals of a species that occur together at a given place and time. All populations living together and the physical factors with which they interact compose an ecosystem.
- Populations of organisms can be categorized by the function they serve in an ecosystem. Plants and some micro-organisms are producers. They make their own food. All animals, including humans, are consumers, which obtain food by eating other organisms. Food webs identify the relationships among producers, consumers, and decomposers in an ecosystem.
Technology Foundation Standards for Students:
- use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity, and promote creativity
- use technology tools to collaborate, publish, and interact with peers, experts, and other audiences
- use technology to locate, evaluate, and collect information from a variety of sources
Invite students to create insect "trading cards," with illustrations of insects in their habitats on one side and facts on the back. These can double as a flash card/quiz game. One student shows the front of the card to a partner and reads the clues on the back, while the other student guesses what the animal is.
Allow students to draw or paint pictures of what they have learned. A large mural of insects in their habitats could be created for the classroom, hallway, or other communal space.
Students can act out the parts of the insects in a work of fiction. This has the potential for some creative costumes and props.
Have students write a diary entry from the point of view of a bug. What did they do and see that day? What were some of the sights, sounds, and smells they encountered?
Explore different ways in which insects have adapted to their habitats. As students are researching their insects, encourage them to look at unique features of behavior, color, and size that help the insects to survive.
Students create their own collection of local insects. Physical specimens can be found or sketches can be drawn of insects. A field trip to a local park will offer access to bugs. Insect guides from the library can be made available to classify the insects, and to measure them. If physical specimens are to be taken, some class instruction should be spent on how to collect the bugs humanely.
Have students take a bug walk with their parents. Both students and parents can record their observations with drawings and notes. Afterward,s they can compare and discuss their findings. Students and parents may also perform internet research to check the accuracy of their conculsions, such as the classification or type of insects they encountered.
- Did the lesson teach students to discern the differences between several similar types of bugs?
- Did the lesson teach students how technology facilitates the outcomes of the game?
- Demonstrate in their writing an understanding of the structure of a journal entry?
- Demonstrate in their writing or diagram an understanding of the role of bugs in their own environment?
- Use their own words?
- Write about a particular interest or concern?
- Include the date?
- Describe an observation?
- Discuss what they've learned?