Now that students should have built their background knowledge on the topic of insects by learning about them and the parts, I have students sit on the meeting place rug to hear the instructions about our insect building activity.
To make this activity more engaging and to use this as a performance based assessment, students get to build an insect using the knowledge they have gained in this unit using craft materials. They get to have a little fun and I get to assess what they know. So much of what we do is worksheets or cut and paste activities. I thought it would be fun for students to create their own insect.
I explain to students that in the middle of each table there is a box with many different items in it consisting of construction paper, pipe cleaners, egg cartons, glue, string and ribbon and any other craft materials that you may want to use.
I say, "Boys and girls, you are going to invent and create your very own insect. Remember that insects have certain parts and your insect should have all of the parts that a real insect has. If you need a reminder, you can look at the poster we made in our first lesson of this unit or you can remember the song we sang."
Students can begin working as soon as all directions have been given. As students are working, I am walking around the classroom and available to help students who may struggle but also to do my assessments. I'm looking to see that students are able to include all of the parts of the insect.
Often times, I have a few students who have a difficult time getting started. In that case, I also provide paper so that students can make a sketch first of what they may need to do or create. There are some students who have a more difficult time envisioning something and creating it without a paper model. Providing paper would be the planning stages of the engineering and design cycle. This lesson supports the science practice that involves engineering as they are designing and building a model.
It is important to remember that you have all types of learners visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. This activity is a great example of that. Many students will be able to get right to work with the craft materials and not have to stop and think. Other students may want to spend more time planning and this is okay too.
After students have been given ample time to create their insects, I ask them to clean up their craft materials and get any unused material back in the box.
I say, "Now, I would like you to look at your table partner and share with them the insect you created. You are responsible for pointing out all of the parts of your insect to your partner. Partners, if you aren't sure where a certain part of their insect is, please ask them to show you. When you are finished, you will switch and the other partner will do the same."
I give several minutes for each partner group to share their insects with each other.
Having students show them to a buddy holds students accountable for their work but also gives them the opportunity to verbalize what they included on their insects and shows me that they are able to use the vocabulary that we learned in the unit in an appropriate way.
The insects that the students created will go on display in the county fair. You could display them for a family night or a science night, etc. You could also just allow students to take them home.