The following lesson plan involving insects will introduce ecosystems and Life cycles to the students. The students will understand how each insect contributes to the overall web of life. This activity will take approximately 30 minutes and is intended for 3rd grade.
Purpose (Instructional Objectives):
The TEKS that are incorporated in the lesson are 3rd grade 8c, which reads:
Living organism needs-food, water, light, air, waste disposal, and environment.
Describe environmental changes which cause organisms to thrive, become ill, or perish.
1 roll of yarn, name tags for each student, marker
Getting Ready (Background information):
The teacher needs to have a nametag for each student in her class. The nametags need to have a variety of animals, plants and insects on them, which each nametag being different. The teacher should also be familiar with all animals she includes on the nametags. This will allow for a motivating discussion of the organisms with the entire class.
To introduce this activity the teacher should discuss with the students how important insects are to the web of life. Insects are predators and prey for many animals and without insects many animals would be extinct. Insects also do many important things for people and the environment. Have the students guess why insects are important (writing these on the board can help in this brainstorming activity). Students may answer production of silk, eat mosquitoes and other pests. Try to have the students think of reasons why many people do not like insects. This will lead into a discussion on how insects fit into our own ecosystem and a discussion of the three levels (autotrophic, heterotrophic and saprotrophic) of insects.
After discussing with the students why insects are important the class is ready to see for themselves.
There are no safety tips for this lesson.
Concept Discovery (Explanation):
The students will be able to see visually and learn about different ecosystems and how different animals and insects influence the web of life. By watching certain insects die and the web of yarn fall apart, the students will realize what happens to these animals when they encounter environmental changes that causes them to adapt, become ill or perish.
Going Further (Extensions):
Students that would like to do another activity involving the web of life will be give construction paper and will be able life by linking construction strips together. They can then draw animals on the strips to represent the different hierarchy of animals and how they live off each other. Another extension would be to have the students discuss real life examples of how the removal of some animals and insects affects the overall web of life.
Summarize this activity by discussing with the students what they learned. Ask them what happens to the web of life when animals become extinct and how this has affected us in the past and how it will affect us in the future.
I will assess the student's knowledge about the web of life and ecosystems very Informally- by observation during the activity. I will not give the students a test of any kind or a worksheet but during the activity I will ask different students questions and based upon their answers and questions I will assess whether this activity was effective or not. If students seem confused I will then go over anything that may be confusing to make sure they understand.
Another area that you can incorporate TEKS for 3rd grade is (14) which discusses probability and what events are least likely, most likely, and equally likely to happen. This could be introduced when you discuss different environmental changes and whether or not they would affect certain insects. Which insects are more likely to become extinct or affect the web of life?
Language Arts (Writing):
Including journal writing is a great way to assess the information learned from students and to have students write their own answers to Rubric:
|What does the web|
of life mean?
|What role do insects|
play in the
|Why are insects|
important to the
|What would happen|
if all insects died?