Your students will have the opportunity to observe nature close-up and learn to work as a team to share their findings.
What You Need:
What To Do:
1. Ask students if they have ever seen a ladybug. Invite them to share their experiences. Record facts and questions about ladybugs that the children have about ladybugs on a sheet of chart paper: What do ladybugs eat? Why are ladybugs red? Are ladybugs female? Where did they get their name? Discuss the nature of living and non-living things. Record the qualities of living things (breathes, needs air, water, eats food, etc.).
2. Begin sharing ladybug books with your students. Talk about the body parts of ladybugs (head, thorax and abdomen) and the characteristics that make them insects - six legs, wings, three body parts. Share photos and illustrations from the books with your students.
3. Explain to your students that they are going to observe ladybugs, Pass out ladybugs in small clear containers. (If you cannot secure individual or partner bug boxes for the students to observe the ladybugs, then you can adapt this activity by placing all of the ladybugs into a large clear container or terrarium where you can set up a ladybug observation station in your science center.) Give each student a hand lens to observe his or her ladybugs. Display a large diagram of a ladybug and refer to each body part that you would like the students to observe. Give the students 15-20 minutes to observe their ladybugs.
4. Handout a printable with a ladybug diagram. There is one available at Enchanted Learning. Have students label an individual diagram of the ladybug and its’ main body parts: (head, thorax, abdomen, legs, antennae, wings) The labeling of the diagram can be done as a whole group or students can work on it in pairs, depending on the needs and abilities of your students.
The most important part of this lesson is allowing students, in whatever way you can set it up, to have real time to observe ladybugs. Setting the ladybugs up in a terrarium after this lesson is over to allow them to continue observing the ladybugs is critical to their observational skills. If your school cannot supply a terrarium, you can make one very easily out of a clear plastic soda bottle or a clear plastic salad tub. Your students will spend as much time as you will let them observing their new class pets. A natural progression to move towards after this lesson is to move into a ladybug’s life cycle. There you can teach not only the stages of a ladybug’s life, but also about a ladybugs’ habitat and eating habits. After the unit is over and spring is underway, release the ladybugs outside.