A classroom tool and lesson for pre-school students to demonstrate their understanding of the differences between different bugs.
What makes a butterfly a butterfly? Nursery school students have a lot of experience with bugs both inside and outside of the classroom. They are a natural focus of their curiosity; their nose pressed to the ground to observe an anthill, or trying in vain to catch a butterfly. In the classroom, many nursery schools focus on the stages of a butterfly’s life from egg to adult hood. From these experiences student’s can discriminate between different bugs, recognize a spider as different from a bee, but these young students struggle when asked to describe what makes one bug different from another.
The Build-A-Bug lesson is designed to engage these young learners in close critical observation of these differences using simple guided observation techniques (counting, color recognition, size comparison), anchor these observations to as defining characteristics of different kinds of bugs (i.e. a butterfly’s wings are bigger than a bee’s) and provide them an opportunity to demonstrate that understanding through the creation of their own bug using a kit of modular, fabric, bug parts.
Pre-Kindergarten (3 to 4 years old)
Modular Bug Bodies
Specially for this lesson modular fabric bug bodies were designed and constructed using felt, stuffing, magnets, and thread. The bodies are designed to reflect the segments of insect and spider bodies.
Special wings, stripes, spots, and legs were designed and constructed using, wire, felt, and velcro.
Insect Specimens and Photographs
Real insect specimens in lucite and color photographs of insects
Design / Lesson Plan
The lesson begins during circle time, with the class watching brief videos of real insects in nature. After each video students are asked what kind of insect they saw, and to talk a little about why they think it is one type of insect rather than another.
The class is then broken into small groups, each with an adult facilitator. In these small groups the students are shown real bug specimens. As they look at the specimens, the students are encouraged to describe their observations, specifically in terms of color, patterns, numbers. Next the facilitator shows the small group detailed anatomical photographs and leads them in the same type of observations (counting, color identification, etc.).
Finally, in the small groups, students are encouraged to demonstrate their understanding of these differences by constructing their own bugs using the modular bug bodies, and feature kit. Next students share their bug with the group and describe its features and what kind of bug they constructed.