The Insect Project at Avocado Elementary

This insect unit began as a teacher project. A $500.00 grant was applied for and granted to research, design, and build a butterfly garden via the Science Learning Network. In August the schoolyard was teaming with different insects. Many students expressed an interest in the various species that they encountered around the school grounds. The first step in this project was to ascertain what they students knew about insects already. The following answers were received: they have six legs, or some eight; some have wings, some have antennae, some live in water, some live in trees.

The second part of this project involved using various resources to find out about insects. This is what they have learned so far: Spiders aren't insects. Scorpions aren't insects either. Insects grow in stages. Some go through metamorphosis. All insects have three main body parts; head, thorax, abdomen. All carry their skeletons on the outside of their bodies. Insects have compound eyes. Caterpillars have about 4,000 muscles. Insects are an important part of the food chain. Insects out weigh the animals.

Many questions are yet to be answered. The following are ones that the students have generated to research: What insects are helpful? What insects are harmful? How many types of insects are there? How do they eat? Where in the world do they live? How do they catch their prey? Can they protect themselves? Did cockroaches live before dinosaurs? Can insects be found in volcanos?

In addition to using various resources the students are involved in recording their own field experiences. Charts are kept by each student and contain the following information: Date of sighting, type of insect, description of insect, where sighted, type of environment located in, plants in area or what insect was doing.

The final portion of this project will focus on building a lasting butterfly garden on the school site. This should be completed in February and the students are optimistic that butterflies will come in the spring or summer of 1997.

Want to know more? Send e-mail to Ms. Langford.

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