Insect Unit Study

For April 2013, we chose the theme of insects to orient our reading and learning activities around.  This was a rich and deep theme, but great for the little kids in the house.  I enjoyed the flexibility of this study because I was able to enjoy it with my 8 year old, but there were several activities that my three year old was able to join in too.

Unit Study Spine

Whenever we have a unit study, I always look for an Amanda Bennett unit study before I look anywhere else.  She came through again with a wonderful unit study called Incredible Insects.  My kids’ favorite part seems to be the integration of You Tube videos into the unit study.  It’s good stuff.

Reading Materials

General Insects

Eric Carle’s Animals Animals has some poetry that goes along with several of the insects that we studied.  Also the beautiful illustrations were wonderful for my children as we went through the books.

Snow Bugs (Bright & Early Book)
by Susan Schade.  Cute book for toddlers.  Firecracker used it to practice reading a little bit but mostly it’s cute for my three and two year olds.

The first book of bugs by Margaret Williamson.  We used the public domain version that is downloadable here.  The kids loved this sweet book and all the pictures.  My only quibble is that it includes a section  on spiders and younger children might find that confusing.

Simon & Schuster Children’s Guide to Insects and Spiders
by Jinny Johnson. This was a very good resource with lots of great pictures of different kinds of common insects.  My children loved it so much that we read a chapter a day for about a week.

The Usborne Complete First Book of Nature (Usborne First Nature)  by R. Kidman-Cox.  This had many different animal sections here, including a section on Butterflies and Moths and a section on creepy crawlys that covered insects, slugs and spiders.

Ants

It’s an Ant’s Life: My Story of Life in the Nest
by Steve Parker.  It looks like this one is currently out of print, but this was a very enjoyable way to learn more about ants.  It’s organized as a dairy written from an ant’s perspective.

National Geographic Readers: Ants
by Melissa Stewart.  This was really simple, but the kids loved the photos.  It is a good easy reader for kids to like to read nonfiction.

Bees

The Life Cycle of the Honeybee (Life Cycles (Raintree Paperback))
by Paula Hogan.  I wouldn’t pay the outrageous used prices on it, but it is a very good basic book about honeybees.  The best part was that Firecracker picked up the term “drone” from it to refer to a boy bee.

Butterflies

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.  I don’t think there’s anyone who dislikes this book.  All three of my younger kids adored it, and my older child was still more captivated by it.

This isn’t a butterfly book but I used Today Is Monday
by Eric Carle as a go along with The Very Hungry Caterpillar to help my younger children with their days of the week.

Crickets

The Cricket in Times Square
by George Seldon.  This is a very good read-aloud for younger children.  It’s not too dramatic.  There’s some humor and some small dramas, but this is a peaceful, relaxing novel about a cricket and his friends.

Fireflies

Sam and the Firefly
by P.D. Eastman.  Not my favorite but the kids think it’s really funny.

Ladybugs

The Grouchy Ladybug
by Eric Carle.  Charming.  Perfect for my “grouchy” child and also for talking about why ladybugs eat aphids.

Internet Resources

Butterflies

We used this Very Hungry Caterpillar unit study from Homeschool Share for activity ideas and to give my Kindergartener some practice sequencing the events in the story and recognizing the days of the week.

I used a freebie Beginning/Middle/End response sheet from Sharing Kindergarten to have the kids write and draw the beginning, middle and end of the story.  That was a really fun and easy activity.  I did not use the associated unit (mostly because it was out of my price range at the time).

Our butterfly lunch.  We had great fun, and the kids were able to help make it.

This Monarch Butterfly printable craft was fun for us to fingerpaint because we raised the painted lady butterflies, and Monarchs are colored similarly.

Insect Lore Live Butterfly Garden
We loved watching our real butterflies go through all the life stages.

Glitter Coffee Filter Butterfly  I did these with my little kids.  Cute!

Egg Carton Caterpillars  Classic craft, and ours turned out so cute.

Ladybugs

We had to make a ladybug paper plate craft.  After all, that is a classic ladybug craft.  This was much enjoyed by all three younger children.

Video Resources

General Insects

Icky Icky Insects.  This is another one that we watched over and over again.  This was really fun 🙂

Mythbusters Bug Special
We’re obsessed with Mythbusters right now in our house, and we really loved this one.  There were several bug experiments.  My favorite was their testing of whether or not bags of water really keep flies away.

Ants

Ants that Count  We loved this video.  I think my 8 year old watched it about 20 times.  I know they got the science on this down.

Bees

The Life Cycle Of The Honeybee
This is free on Amazon Prime, but $1.99 to buy if you don’t have prime.  After watching this, Rose said, “I didn’t realize that bees really did stuff.  I just thought they stung you.”  That alone made it worth the watch.

Butterflies

Nat Geo:  Tadpoles, Dragonflies and Caterpillar’s Big Change.  This is aimed at preschoolers, but we learned a lot off of it.

Magic School Bus:  Butterflies and the Bog Beast   My kids love magic school bus, and this is no exception.  Excellent 🙂

Complete Monarch Butterfly Lifecycle  It’s just so amazing to watch

A Blue Morpho Butterfly is Born

It’s sad, but my eight year old is getting a little too big for Deigo 😦  On the other hand, my other three kids were glued to it.

Fireflies

Wild Kratts Fireflies was fun and informative.  Wild Kratts is one of the kids’ favorite shows right now.

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