Arthropods are Awesome!

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SWBAT identify the basic needs and features of arthropods by creating a model.

Big Idea

Arthropods are a wide class of animals including crabs, insects, and spiders!


This is the sixth lesson in a unit about animal classes, focused on the Essential Standards 1.L.1.1, identifying the basic needs of animals including food, water, air, space and shelter, and 1.L.2.2, summarizing that animals have basic needs necessary for energy and growth. Click here to hear why I teach the Essential Standards.

I also post a guiding question for each lesson as a requirement of my county. It also helps to focus my students around the objective for the day. Today's questions are 'What are the features of the arthropod animal class?' and 'What are the basic needs of arthropods?'

This animal class is incredibly diverse and includes lots of animals that my students probably think belong in other classes, like crabs and shrimp. Therefore, it is my goal to really engage them in learning about lots of different arthropods so that they see the diversity in this class.

In this lesson, students have multiple opportunities to share what they have learned including through the written Fact Sheet, creating a model, and through discussion at the end of the lesson. This supports students many different student needs. For those with strengths in different areas, such as writing or speaking, this lesson aims to capitalize on their strengths and also give some exposure to weaker areas. Also, students who have difficulty communicating, such as ELL (English Language Learners) or Special Needs Students, are supporting in writing, creating, and speaking. Providing many different ways to both experience the content and then express the content really gives the students lots of ways to access this information! 


2 Fact Sheets per student

Lots of books about different arthropods, especially ones your students are most interested in

Various colors of construction paper & glue



Warm Up

6 minutes

First, we watch this introductory video about arthropods which has lots of real images of animals in this class which gets the students really excited! Then, we look at this website together to get a basic understanding of the arthropod class. I show the website on my SmartBoard projector and I read the information to the class. As I read, I stop along the way and make comments or ask questions to engage the class. For example, I may say, "I didn't know that! I wonder what other animals are arthropods?" or "Where do you think this arthropod gets its food?" The purpose of using a website is to engage students in learning a lot of information in a short amount of time as well as to show detailed photographs and other images. Doing this as a whole group with the projector is a great way to accomplish this, instead of using a book where students cannot clearly see the images. 

Then, we list the features of the class on our ongoing anchor chart and discuss the basic needs of this group to summarize the information from the website and video. 



30 minutes

After we have an understanding of the features and basic needs of arthropods, I say,

"Today you are going to explore a few different animals in this class in a group. You will have 30 minutes to research and read about an animal, complete a Fact Sheet, and make a model. The model can be a drawn diagram or you can make one out of construction paper and glue. Then, you will switch to a different arthropod and do a second Fact Sheet and model". 

Although my students could work on one model for an entire class period, the goal is for them to recognize some diversity within this animal class in order to further understand the basic needs of arthropods. Therefore, they are required to do 2 different animals. Developing a simple model based on evidence supports Science and Engineering Practice 2.

Students WorkingAs the students work in groups reading and recording information about the arthropods, I help where needed and ask questions to make sure students are focused on identifying the animals' basic needs. Obtaining and evaluating information supports Science and Engineering Practice 8.



Students Working 2My students work in groups frequently and I trust them to make good choices, so for this project I allow them to self-select their groups, although I maintain the right to make adjustments! I think it is important that my students have the option to work with people that they enjoy working with, as well as students that I pair them with for academic reasons.

Wrap Up

10 minutes

After students have completed two Fact Sheets and two models, we meet back on the carpet and we have a discussion about what they learned and what they found interesting. This supports Science and Engineering Practice 8 as students are communicating information. Having a discussion also allows me to check in on any students that I did not spend a lot of time with during the activity stage. I listen for any misunderstandings or misconceptions that I address during the discussion.