The Caterpillars Body

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SWBAT identify, name and label the major parts of caterpillars body.

Big Idea

All animals have internal and external parts that make up their body system.

Washington State Standards

5 minutes

In grade two, Washington State science standards focus systematically on how part of objects, plants, and animals are connected and work together.  This concept is built throughout the standards and builds upon each grade band.  It is expected that students will understand the part, part, whole relationship.  

This lesson will be a follow up lesson to the earlier Systems Lesson.  This is directly related to the Cross Cutting Concept Systems and Systems Models, as well as, Structure and Function. Both are closely tied to the understanding that models offer opportunities to test and understand the shapes, functions and purposes of parts within a system.  


5 minutes

I pose a question to the students that I want them to think about. This question will be the guiding question that will lead into the lesson about body parts.  

"Boys and girls let me ask you a question.  Do you remember a few weeks back when we read the book, Og the Dog (Systems lesson).  Put your heads together for a moment and have a conversation about what you might think would make up an insect body system?" 

This question is meant to activate prior knowledge.

 "Well, today we are going to learn about the system of the caterpillars body. It is an amazing creature that has so many cool parts to it. Let me show you what we will be looking at." 

I have the Life Cycle of Butterfly- Body Parts on my computer and ready to display on my Smart Board screen.  Slide one is simply a title slide that shows a beautiful picture of a caterpillar.  I use this slide to show the children a real picture of a caterpillar.  I also use this to ask the children to put their heads together for a moment to discuss what they think they know about this creatures body.

"I would like for you to put your heads together and share with each other what you think all the parts of this caterpillars body might be called. Do you know any of the names?"  

I allow the children to converse and share any ideas they may have for a couple of minutes. After this, I ring my bell and wait for the team leaders to stand and report out for their team.  Most children will have no background in the names of the caterpillars body, so no matter what they share, all answers will be listened to.  

This has a direct connection to the Cross Cutting Concept of Structure and Function.  Because most insects have the same body parts, children will be able to generalize the body parts toward any insect and allow them to work on developing a model of the body.  This will become important later when learning about the pollinating plants.  

I explain to the children that most names of living creatures have very complicated names and that those names are connected to simpler names they may recognize.  Our job today will be to learn those names.  

I then move to slide two, which shares the learning objectives for today's lesson.  

Explain and Explore

10 minutes

In the 5E process, these two sections are typically done separately, however, in this case, I find it is more conducive to complete them together.  I can explain each element while the children are exploring the details on their diagrams.

"So let me show you some great diagrams that will give you a lot more information about the body  of the caterpillar." 

Slide three shows the entire body of the caterpillar.  It is missing the labels, but these will be shared in the next few slides.  These diagrams help to reinforce the connections to the nature of science with models.  Demonstrating that scientists use models as way to communicate their learning.

I include notes for myself on the power point to remember how to explain all the parts to the children. 

I pass out to the children a copy of slide 9, that I have copied and cut in half prior to the lesson. I pass out the top portion of the slide and have the children document on the diagram the corresponding number as I explain it to them with the picture on the screen. 

I explain how each of the sections of the caterpillars body will eventually become a distinct part of the butterflies body.  

Once, we have completed this, we look at slide four through six.  Each slide goes through the individual section of the body and breaks apart the those sections, describing the names that correspond to the section.

Slide seven explains in text and with photographs more detailed information about the bristles and spiracles.  

While slide eight focuses upon the idea of an exoskeleton. This is a vocabulary word that is important for the students to understand.  Knowing the difference between the type of skeleton humans have and insects have is a good point to compare.  

"Alright entomologists, we have a new idea here that we need to explore.  This slide explains to use the type of skeleton that an insect has.  Think about your own skeleton.  Where do you find the bones in your body? An insect's body doesn't have bones on the inside of it.  The shell portion of their body is the skeleton. That is what this slide is explaining to us." 



15 minutes

Slide ten is a blackline of a foldable for the students to complete and add to their journals. Foldables are engaging and offer a way for the students to interact with the new information they have just learned.  They are a great way for teachers to gather data and assess the students knowledge in a short time with few words. 

I pass out slide ten and demonstrate for the children how to fold it in half on the center line.  After this, we take our scissors and cut the two dotted lines in the middle of the page. These two lines will allow us to create doors.  

I explain to the children that we will be gluing this into our science journals after we have finished our documentation.  If we glue the pages in to the journal too soon, it makes it difficult to write all the information on the page.  The glue can sometimes cause bubbles on the surface of the page.  I demonstrate to the children how to do this on the document camera with a sample page. I use this page to write the ideas that the children will share in their group conversations. 

"Let's think about what we have learned about the head of the caterpillar.  What were important details we will need to remember? Put your heads together and come up with one detail we can add to our foldable."  

Children will offer ideas that should come from the discussions and slides observed in the Explain/Explore section of the lesson.  It is fine if they use diagram from earlier to refer back to, as well. 

I use the same process to review each of the three parts of the insects body.  

When the discussion has been completed and we have documented all the ideas in the foldable, I ask the children to use their glue bottles and create a small snail trail around the outside of the back of the folded page.  We glue this into our journals in the insect section of our books.  It may be referred back to in later lessons.  



5 minutes

At the end of the lesson, I want to know if the children were able to absorb the information.  I pass out the bottom portion of slide nine.  I ask them to take all the information we have just discussed and fill in the half sheet.  

This information will help me to know if the students did indeed understand the objectives that were set out in the beginning of the lesson.  I will use these to guide if there is a need to go back do any reteaching.