What kind of Insect is that?

Topic: Taxonomy

50 minutes
5th grade
Science Concepts: Taxonomy, lab procedures, use of lab materials, Identify insect parts and classification of insects


The student will be able to recognize certain set of characteristics of an insect and be able to classify an insect according to the Linnaen system.

2) Scientific Inquiry: Field & Laboratory
c. analyze and interpret information to construct explanations from direct and indirect evidence
9) Adaptatiorgincrease Survival of Members of a Species
b. analyze and describe adaptive characteristics that result in organism's niche


microscopes (or hand lens), insects, resource books (these books should include color picture)

Getting Ready:

Taxonomy - is the discipline of identifying and classifying organisms. The current method used worldwide to name organisms was devdloped by a Swedish botanist Carolus Linnaeus (1707-78).

The Linnaen System of binomial nomenclature gives every organism a unique two-part name (scientific name). Ex: Homo sapiens is the scientific name for humans


Show students an example of an insect that you have created. Ask if students have ever seen one of these insects in their yard. Tell students how you decided what characteristics you used to classify your insect.


Students will be divided into small groups of two or three and will use hand held lens or microscopes to get a closer look at insect body parts. Students should be able to recognize the different parts of an insect. Then the student will need to classify at least 5 of the insects according to the Linnaen System. Insects will be set up at different stations (as many as you would like). Use a variety of insects (some with wings, some with compound eyes, some with multiple eyes, etc).

Safety Tips:

Remind students of microscope safety, and lab safety

Concept Discovery:

Explain the Linnaen System - who Carolus Linnaeus is, how organisms get their scientific names, explain the parts of an insect, show an entire classification scheme for an insect and explain the characteristics in each category. All scientific content will be explained here.

Going Further:

Use the Linnaen system to classify other organisms, such as dogs, birds, frogs, anything other than insects. Also apply the concept of classification to other subjects.


Review who Carolus Linnaeus is, the taxonomy systems, the parts of an insect, and how to classifv an insect


Students will create their own insect and classify it according to the Linnaen system. Encourage students to combine insects from different Orders. The student will draw, color, and label body parts of the insect. Then write a story about the insect, explaining how it got it's name, where to find it (country, habitat, etc), what it eats, what the adults look like (color, length, wing or no wing), what the immature look like and how the are developed, and any information the student would like to provide about the insect.

0 - Incomplete assignment, most of the parts of the assignment are missing
1 - Student created an insect, but did classify the insect correctly, art work is neat
2 - Student showed knowledge of insects by creating a new insect and classifying it correctly, art work is very neat
3 - Student created a new insect, classified it correctly and showed great amounts creativity, artwork is extremely neat and imaginative


Connections are to Language Arts (essay), Art (drawing), Social Studies (where to find the insect)

Adapting the activity for younger students by having them tell about their drawing instead of writinq about it.

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