Reflection: Lesson Planning On the Hunt Part 2: Spiders - Section 3: Activity


I decided to use QR codes to create a scavenger hunt for the spiders that are found in the Spiders of Illinois PowerPoint.  See the video embedded at the end of the activity section for a brief explanation of how/why I chose to run the spider hunt in that manner.

This turned out to be an incredibly fun way to "collect" spiders in a completely no-risk manner for those students who are still a bit skittish around real spiders and I highly recommend this strategy.

The very first spider that students "collected" becomes their focus spider in which they attempt to determine the type of spider they found.  Students are told to create a field journal entry about their spider that includes a well done, detailed, and colored drawing and a written description.  I provide students with 15-20 to accomplish this task.


I then remove the images from students and the only information they have on the spider is what they logged in their journals.  Using that information only, students are challenged to determine the type of spider they "collected".  Once they have a guess that is well supported by evidence found doing research, students will create a claim/evidence chart and check their answers with me.  If they are correct, they must explain how they came to that conclusion.  If they are incorrect, they will be given 5 more minutes to look at the image to find more details that will help them identify their spider and continue the process of spider identification.  This process continues until students are successful or I feel they have done their very best to find the answer.

Important point: students will immediately attempt to use a Google image search to identify the exact picture they documented (the stinkers!).  I banned any image search and reminded them that this was their chance to practice the skills they needed to identify an unknown spider.  Students could use pictures found on websites but those would not necessarily be an exact match to the ones they used in class.  This drove students to spider identification sites which was exactly what I wanted them to use.  

The following day I had each student group look at preserved spiders (dead and stored in alcohol) under the stereoscopes and again attempt to identify the type of spider.  This was an excellent extension activity and the students loved (and hated!) looking at the magnified spiders.  The video in the narrative shows students explaining their observations, thoughts on the type of spider and plans on verifying their hypothesis.


  Technology Makes the Spider Hunt Awesome
  Lesson Planning: Technology Makes the Spider Hunt Awesome
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On the Hunt Part 2: Spiders

Unit 5: Biodiversity and Spiders
Lesson 6 of 9

Objective: SWBAT identify the type of spiders based on its observed characteristics.

Big Idea: Students apply science practices in their effort to identify unknown spiders they collect!

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