“What is an Insect?”



TEKS :  


K (5) Properties and Patterns – Organisms, Objects, and Events

a. : Properties of objects and characteristics of organisms


K (6) System’s Parts – Organisms and Objects

            c. : Record observations about animal parts


Overview :


·        Introduction to Insect Haven

·        Teach the parts of an insect

·        Teach and sing a song about the parts of an insect

·        Create their own insect body

·        Collect insects

·        Stages of a butterfly

·        View a live insect


Materials :


Bug barn                      Construction paper                   Glue

Scissors                        Crayons/Markers                     Yarn

Sticks                           Popcorn Kernels                      Pasta

Leaves                         Wiggly Eyes                             Live insect

Various plastic insects and animals


Book : What’s Inside an Insect by Scholastic

A Butterfly is Born by Melvin Berger




Activities :


Activity 1: Introduction to Insect Haven


“Today we will discuss the rules of our Insect-A-Camp.”

          "Give Me Five": When we want the camper's attention, we will say "Give Me Five" and that means:

               Eyes on speaker

               Mouths closed

               Hands still

               Ears listening

               Brain thinking

          “When paired with a partner, it is important that you do not wander off by yourself. That is how campers get lost.”

          “Questions are wonderful… ask as many as you want. No question is a silly question.”

          “Do not pick up any insect before checking with an adult. Some insects can be harmful.”

          “In the building, remember to use inside voices and quiet walking feet.”

          “If you need to go to the restroom, please show the camp sign and we will be glad to let you go. (use the American Sign Language sign: shaking the letter R)”


“It is very important that you always listen to the adult in charge and we will have a great week!”


Activity 2: “What do you know about insects?”


“How many of you have ever gone outside and seen an insect? What is an insect? Can you tell me what it looks like? I have a large piece of paper here and I need help drawing my insect.”

     Children input ideas as to what the insect looks like. “Does it have a head…. Is it square, circle, rectangle, oval? What does the body look like? Does it have a tail? Is it long or short? What does its mouth look like? Does it have any legs? How many? What color should we color it? Does it have eyes? How many? What about a nose? Does it have ears?”

After the drawing of the insect, we step back and look at it. “Wow! Does that look like an insect you have seen before? What name would we give this insect? You have told us so many wonderful things that you know about insects but this week we are going to teach you many things about insects.”

At the end of the day we redraw this insect and see if it looks the same as the one we created together.



Read book: What’s Inside an Insect by Melvin Berger


Teacher draws an insect drawn on a big chart. It has:

     3 body parts: head, thorax (a middle section), and an abdomen (rear section)

     3 pair of legs off the side of the thorax

     2 antennae on head

     one or more pair of eyes

     some have stingers

     some have 1 or 2 pair of wings


A comparison is made between original drawing and new drawing. Questions are asked and answers are given.


Activity 3 : Song: Head, Thorax, Abdomen 


Head, Thorax, Abdomen

(Tune: Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes)

by Cedric Wesley, Toni Casarez and Wendy Garrett


Head, Thorax, Abdomen… Abdomen

Head, Thorax, Abdomen…Abdomen

6 legs 2 Antennae

And Compound Eyes

Don't forget the ones with wings… Ones with wings!



Head: point to head

Thorax: point to stomach area

Abdomen: point to rear and shake

6 legs: show 6 fingers

2 Antennae: with index finger wiggling above head

Compound Eyes: hands cupped like "c" around eyes

Wings: interlock hands at thumbs and wiggle fingers in flying motion


Activity 4 : Insect Identifying Game


            Children are sitting in a circle on the floor and teacher says, "now that we know what an insect is and how many body parts that it has, we are going to see just how

smart you are and see who the experts are in this class. We are going to show you some critters and name them and if it is an insect I want you to spring up in the

air like a grasshopper and sit back down again. If it is not an insect I want you to stay seated on the rug and shake your head side to side which tells me, (No, it is

not an insect)."



     The following insects/ non-insect will be named:

            Bee * Cow

Grasshopper * Spider

            Worm * Pig

            Scorpion * Lizard

            Lady bug * Person

            Fly * Dinosaur

            Rock * Ant


“Since you have done such a good job of picking out the insects, we are going to go outside and see if we can find some insects. Okay, put on your super duper

double powered looking eyes and off we go. Remember we are going to stay together in a group and we must be very, very quiet or we might scare the insects away.”


Activity 5 : Create an insect


            Now that you know all the parts of an insect, we are going to create our own.  We are going to see how many insect experts we have in our class.  Who can tell me one part of an insect? (head, thorax, abdomen, 6 legs attached to the thorax, 2 compound eyes, 2 antennae’s, and some with wings) Who can tell me another part of an insect? (continue through the other insect parts)

            Now you are going to be given time to create your own insect using the art supplies on the table (see materials list).  Make sure your insect has all the correct body parts. 


·        Teacher Note :  A digital camera can be used to take a picture of the child’s face, which will be attached as the head of the insect they have created. 


Activity 6 : Stages of a Butterfly – Part 1


            “How many of you have seen a butterfly?  Where do think that it comes from?  Well, today, we are going to hear a story and you can see if you were right.” 

Read : A Butterfly is Born by Melvin Berger

            “Were you right?” Looking back through the story, we will recall the stages a caterpillar must go through before it becomes a butterfly.... egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly. 


With hand motions, children will recall stages of a butterfly:

Egg: hand clutched tight like a fist

Caterpillar: index finger extended, scrunched, extended, scrunched,....

Chrysalis: index finger of one hand wrapped by other hand (like a hotdog)

Butterfly: with thumbs interlocked, fingers wiggle and do flying motion


“Wow! What wonderful hand butterflies we have, now let's do the stages with our whole body.”

* Egg: child in fetal position

* Caterpillar: inch like a worm across the floor

* Chrysalis: standing up the child covers face with hands and spins in a circle

* Butterfly: with arms extended, the child flies across the room and all around


With hand motions, the children will recall stages of a butterfly.  The children will sing the butterfly song to the tune of “Frere Jacques.”  


            Butterfly Song

by Toni Casarez and Wendy Garrett


Egg, Caterpillar, Chrysalis

Egg, Caterpillar, Chrysalis

Butterfly. . . Butterfly

Flying all around

Flying to the ground

Butterfly. . . Butterfly


(Song done with hand movements)


Activity 7 : Stages of a Butterfly – Part 2


            The students will recreate the stages of a butterfly.  We will fold a sheet of construction paper into 4 squares.  The first square will represent the first stage of a butterfly glue a popcorn kernel to a leaf to represent the egg.  In the second square use  yarn for grass and green spiral pasta to represent the caterpillar.  In the third square, glue down a stick and a brown shell pasta to represent the chrysalis.  In the last square, glue a painted bow tie pasta with a pipe cleaner for the antennae’s to represent the butterfly. 



Activity 8 : “The Hairy Caterpillar”


Each child will be given one hose. The student will fill the hose with soil and grass mixture. The worm is then tied off at the end.

            Teacher will glue on wiggle eyes and pipe cleaner antennae for the caterpillar.

Child is allowed to water caterpillar each day during camp.

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