Insect Lesson Plan

The Buffalo BLM range staff, Dusty Kavitz (standing center) and me (standing right), teaching body parts of an insect to first graders.

The Buffalo BLM range staff, Dusty Kavitz (standing center) and me (standing right), teaching body parts of an insect to first graders.

May 27, 2015 Buffalo, Wyoming-Dusty Kavitz, Rangeland Conservationist, and myself, Range Intern, headed down to the Clear Creek Trail System to teach about insects, particularly grasshoppers and crickets. Upon arrival we visited with Nicole Schmidt, an elementary school teacher at Buffalo’s Meadowlark Elementary School. There were other professionals teaching too; Wyoming Game and Fish Department teaching about Aquatic Invertebrates, Johnson County Weed & Pest teaching about Mosquitoes, US Forest Service teaching Bugs & Trees, and Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality teaching Food for Fish. The roughly 70 first graders piled in with their respective teachers.

Our first group of first graders ready and willing to learn about INSECTS! Dusty started out explaining insects are made up of head, thorax, and abdomen.  One volunteer was chosen to stand in front of the rest and get dressed with head (helmet), antennae (costume antlers), wings (costume wings), exoskeleton (garbage bucket cover), and an egg (plastic Easter egg) for the abdomen. After the dress-up was finished we sang “head, thorax, abdomen and three legs” to the tune of “head, shoulders, knees and toes”. First we would sing at normal speed and then faster, telling the group they were the fastest yet.  Next, Dusty quizzed them on what is an insect? A spider? No. A roly-poly? No. A lobster? No. A cricket? Yes. A grasshopper? Yes.

To make the lesson a bit more specific we focused on grasshoppers and crickets. These insects live in grasslands of wide open spaces in Wyoming. They are an important food source for birds and help break down plants to turn into soil. The difference between grasshoppers and crickets; crickets are nocturnal and grasshoppers are diurnal. Grasshoppers have vivid colors and crickets are more neutral colors to blend in with the landscape. We ended each session with a poem Walking on Ears from the Center for Insect Science Education Outreach at the University of Arizona. The poem relates how a cricket chirps, hears, sees, and smells to how humans see, feel, smell, hear, and sing.

After 5 different sessions and 3 hours of sunshine in a grassy field, our work was done. The kids were heading back to school and the professionals heading back to their respective offices.  What a terrific way to start the day!


2 thoughts on “Insect Lesson Plan

  1. Wow!! This sounded like an awesome opportunity for the kids! I bet Dusty and you were awesome teachers!!

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