What Is an Insect?

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Objective

Students will be able to classify organisms as insects by completing a sort.

Big Idea

Creepy crawlies galore! Students practice classification with supporting rationale as they learn about structures and functions unique to insects.

Opening

10 minutes

For this portion of the lesson, I use my SMART Board.  If you have a SMART Board, the What Is an Insect Intro Activity notebook file can easily be downloaded and opened.  If you have a different type of interactive whiteboard, you can still use this lesson by opening the file in Smart Notebook Express.  Click here to download. There is also a pdf of the slides so you can recreate this part of the lesson:  What Is an Insect Intro Activity PDF of Slides

I open the file and say to the students, I have two pictures of some little creatures on the board.  I want you to tell me how these creatures are the same and I will record your ideas (record ideas on the Smartboard).  Now, I want you to tell me how these creatures are different (again I record the students' ideas on the Smartboard). 

I tell the students to keep in mind what ideas they came up with as move further into today's lesson.

Direct Instruction

15 minutes

For this portion of the lesson, I use my SMART Board.  If you have a SMART Board, the What Is An Insect notebook file can easily be downloaded and opened.  If you have a different type of interactive whiteboard, you can still use this lesson by opening the file in Smart Notebook Express.  Click here to download. There is also a pdf of the slides so you can recreate this part of the lesson:  What Is An Insect PDF of Notebook Slides

I gather my students in front of the SMART Board.  I have cards with each student's name on.  These cards are used for selecting who will come up to the Smartboard.

I open the first slide (SMART Board Slide 1) with the lesson objective written in "student friendly" terms.  There is a content objective and a language objective to help focus on vocabulary expansion for my English Learners (ELs) to be congruent with SIOP instructional techniques.  I read these objectives aloud for my students.

Content Objective
I can identify the characteristics of an insect.

Language Objective
I can tell a friend whether an animal is an insect by identifying its characteristics.

We then move on to slide 2.

Slide 2:  Insects are animals.

Slide 3:  Insects have three body parts and two sets of wings.  I point out and name the three body parts. We compare the three body parts to our body parts. 

Slide 4: Insects have six legs as adults.  We count the legs together. 

Slide 5:  Insects skeletons are on the outside of their bodies.  They are called exoskeletons. 

Slide 6:  Insects have a pair of antennae.

Slide 7:  Insects go through changes from egg to adult.  These changes are called metamorphosis.

Slide 8:  Now we start on the most important part of this instruction.  The students need to apply what they know about insect characteristics to different animals and decide if it is an insect or not.  This is an important activity for the students.  I want them to state and apply arguments as to why an animal is or is not an insect  I say, Is it an insect?  Why or why not?  I press the students for the why or why not, modeling as appropriate. 

Slide 9-13:  Continue as above.

Slide 14:  I ask the students to summarize the characteristics of insects that we have learned.  I want them to be able to draw conclusions about the information gathered as this is an important science skill.  I record their summary on the Smartboard. 

Slide 15:  It is now time for Turn and Talk.  I use Turn and Talk to build and strengthen the vocabulary and expressive language of all my kindergarten students.  Each student has an assigned partner.  I ask them to raise hands with their partner so I know everyone is partnered up.  After they raise their hands, I pose the question to them:  Is this an insect?  Why or why not?  I give them time to talk and when everyone has had a time to share, I ask a volunteer to share his or her response before the class.  I emphasize the characteristics of insects that were highlighted in the response and ask the students to add any that were not identified.

We then move back to our seats for Independent Practice. 

Independent Practice and Informal Assessment

10 minutes

Materials Needed:

I pass out the activity sheet to the students, I tell the students, I want to know if you can classify animals as being an insect or not.  You will cut apart the animals on the bottom of the page and sort them into the appropriate categories.  If they are insects, they go on this side of the paper. If they are not,they go on this side.  Before you glue down your insects, raise your hand and I will check your work.

The students begin working and I circulate around the room to check their work.  See video.  When they complete the activity, I point to a few of the animals on their sheet and ask them to share why or why not they are insects.  It is important that they are able to share their arguments and justify why they classified the animals the way they did.

The students put the completed activity sheet in their mailboxes and we gather for the lesson closing. 

Closing

5 minutes

To close this lesson, we go full circle back to the opening in which the students compared a spider and a bug and shared the ways they are alike and different.  I now want the students to apply what they know about the characteristics of insects and to apply this information to the the creatures.  Again, this is great practice in developing and sharing arguments.

I say to the students, You pointed out some ways these two creatures are alike and ways they are different.  Now, I want you to think about what we learned about insects today.  Can you find any other ways that these creatures are different?  I will record your responses.

After I record their responses, we once more go through the basic characteristics of insects as a final review.