ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Singing and Social Insects Lesson for Middle School Biology

Updated on May 18, 2019
iijuan12 profile image

I am a Christian. I was an 8th-grade American History teacher. I am currently a freelance writer, public speaker, & homeschooling mom of 8.

Singing & Social Insects Middle School Biology Lesson
Singing & Social Insects Middle School Biology Lesson

This is the 24th lesson in a series of 32 hands-on lessons covering middle school biology from a Christian perspective. This lesson focuses on singing and social insects. Compare honey varieties, act out pollination, spit crickets, & more. I used this plan while teaching a 55 minute middle school biology class. Each lesson plan includes homework assignments and a variety of hands-on activities to make each lesson engaging & memorable. Use these fun lessons with your classroom, homeschool, after-school program, or co-op!

These lessons are written for a class that meets once a week. If your class meets 5 days a week, simply do this lesson one day a week and use the homework assignments (at the bottom of the page) for the work for the other days of the week.

Prep before class: hiding the "flower"
Prep before class: hiding the "flower"

Prep Before Class: Hiding the "Flower"

Before class starts, hide a "flower" (described in activity 13) somewhere near the classroom but not inside the classroom. Hide it somewhere that you can't see immediately but that is still fairly easy to locate.

Homework Review

1. Pass out tickets to students who did their homework and to students who did extra credit. Go over the homework questions from the book. (I give out tickets for students who volunteer to answer the questions.)

Some of the insects and insect-related items students brought to share with the class
Some of the insects and insect-related items students brought to share with the class

Insect Show and Tell

2. Allow students to each show and discuss the insect or insect-related item they brought to class. (Give a ticket to each student for presenting.)

Source

Orthopetera: "Straight-winged" = Grasshoppers, crickets, etc.

3. Give a brief & quick overview of the order Orthopetera while looking at pictures from the textbook or a PowerPoint.

  • "straight winged" = when not flying, wings are straight along body
  • cricket, grasshopper, katydid, locust, mantises, cockroaches
  • most are herbivorous & chewing = lots of crop damage
  • mantises feed on insects = popular with gardeners

A. Grasshoppers

  • divided by length of antennae: long-horned (katydid & cricket) & short-horned (locusts)
  • normally short-horned are solitary – if overpopulated, nymphs develop darker colors = absorb more heat = more active = bigger appetite = hordes (because they imitate each other)
  • Make sounds & each variety is distinct so you can identify they by their song
  • Stridulatory organs = musical instruments – like violin – scraper (like comb) rubbed across file (smooth or knobby) & forewings act as resonating membranes
  • Higher temps = more intense songs & more chirps

B. Mantis

  • carnivorous: eats insects, lizards, & mice
  • easily blends in & resembles flowers, twigs, leaves, & stones (ingenuity of Creator)

C. Cockroaches

  • 4000 known species & world’s most numerous insects
  • only 35 species invade our homes; can carry pathogens that are harmful to humans

Cricket spitting contest
Cricket spitting contest

Grasshopper Tasting & Spitting

4. (Optional) Tasty Grasshoppers (Chapulines): Grasshoppers are considered food in many cultures around the world. In parts of Mexico they are added to tacos.

  • Allow students to taste grasshoppers. Tip: Remove the legs as they easily get caught in your teeth.
  • I gave students who were willing to try the grasshopper a piece of candy. I did tell them ahead of time they would get the candy if they ate the grasshopper.

You will need:

  • edible grasshoppers (chapulines), which might be available at your local Mexican grocery store - They are available at amazon.com and e-bay (which is where I purchased ours).
  • (optional) candy to reward those who try the grasshoppers

5. (Optional) Grasshopper/cricket spitting contest: Students who want to participate may.

  • Line up students in 1 line and have them spit their cricket or grasshopper at the same time to see who spits theirs the furthest. We did this twice.
  • Next, see who can spit it the most accurately. In our class, everyone stood in the same line and tried to spit it into a shoe that was on a chair.
  • I gave candy to everyone who participated and a larger piece of candy to the students who won each round.

You will need:

  • edible grasshoppers/crickets (chapulines) - from the same package above
  • candy (or other item) to give to everyone who participates and candy for prizes

Examining a butterfly under a magnifying lens
Examining a butterfly under a magnifying lens

Lepidoptera: "scale-winged" = butterflies & moths

6. Give a brief & quick overview of the order Lepidoptera while looking at pictures from the textbook or a PowerPoint.

  • 2nd largest insect order
  • 180,000 know species with 90% moths
  • How can you tell the difference between moths & butterflies? (nocturnal vs. diurnal, bodies, wings held flat or up when at rest, antennae)

7. Allow students to use magnifying lenses to observe dead specimens or pieces of them. Ask, "What do you notice?" The students were were amazed to see all the scales on the wings.

You will need:

  • magnifying lenses for students
  • dead butterflies and moths (or related items like wings, chrysalises, and cocoons)

Examining a dead bumblebee
Examining a dead bumblebee

Hymenoptera: "Membrane-winged" = Bees, Wasps, & Ants

8. Give a brief & quick overview of the order Hymenoptera while looking at pictures from the textbook or a PowerPoint.

  • complete metamorphosis & most are social

A. Honeybees

  • 1 queen (lives 5-10 years), hundreds of drones, thousands of workers – colonies last for years
  • If stung, remove stinger quickly & don’t squeeze it as it can continue to pump venom up to 20 minutes

B. Bumblebee

  • colony lasts 1 year - only new queen lives through winter
  • smooth stinger so can sting repeatedly & doesn’t die after stinging

C. Wasps

  • Body is long & thin with threadlike waist & few or no hairs
  • Carnivorous – developing larvae feed on insects & other soft-bodied animals
  • Paper wasps nests
  • All except new queen die before winter

D. Ants

  • Some colonies have lived for more than 80 years
  • May have several queens
  • 12,500 species & varieties are fascinating. Some enslave ants from other colonies. Some harvest their own food. Some "milk" aphids like cattle.

9. Allow students to use magnifying lenses to observe dead specimens. Ask, "What do you notice?" The students were didn't realize how sharp the bee's legs were and that bees have 2 sets of wings until they saw them. They were also surprised to see the stripes on the exoskeleton of the wasp.

You will need:

  • magnifying lenses for students
  • dead bees, wasps, or ants (or related items like honeycomb or wasps nests)

Comparing different varieties of honey
Comparing different varieties of honey

Comparing Honey

10. Briefly discuss how bees make honey.

  • Allow students to compare the colors and flavors of at least 3 varieties of honey. We used toothpicks for tasting.
  • After everyone has finished tasting them, have the class vote on their least favorite and most favorite.

You will need:

  • toothpicks
  • at least 3 different varieties of honey (made from different flowers) - I purchased these 3 types at Wal-Mart.

Insects: Helpful or Harmful T-chart
Insects: Helpful or Harmful T-chart

Insects: Helpful or Harmful

11. Ask for a student volunteer who likes to do charades. They will be doing charades in a moment. After selecting a volunteer, quietly tell them that they are going to pretend to be a bee who is in search of honey. They are go into [the hallway - or wherever you hid the "flower"], find the "flower" (a bowl with Cheetos on top), and then come back and non-verbally communicate with the class where the "flower" is.

12. MEANWHILE, everyone else will do a Pop Quiz. Have students pull out a piece of paper and list as many ways as they can think of how insects are helpful and how they are harmful. They have 1 minute to create there list. There will be a prize for whoever comes up with the most answers.

  • After students have finished, find out who had the most answers. Award them a prize. (I gave them candy.)
  • Quickly go over what students wrote, and make a t-chart on the board.

You will need:

  • a prize (such a candy)

Bee pollination activity
Bee pollination activity

Bee Pollination Activity

13. After the volunteer student has located and the flower, s/he will need to lead the other "worker bees" to the flower.

  • Briefly mention that bees actually do a waggle dance and reference the angle of the sun, but the student will just use charades (movements without speaking or writing) to try to get the other students to guess where the "flower" is.
  • After a couple minutes or less, if the other students haven't guessed the location yet, simply allow the "worker bee" student to lead them to the location.

14. Allow students to grab a Caprisun-type drink (the nectar) to drink.

  • Notice your hands. Did you get some "pollen" (Cheetos orange dust) on them? That helps pollinate other flowers, but it's also brought back to the hive for food. Did you know that bees eat pollen and feed it to their growing larvae?
  • Sometimes bees also pack some pollen into "pollen baskets" on their legs, so if you want to bring a small handful of "pollen" Cheetos back to eat, you may.
  • Provide wet hand-wipes or baby wipes for students to use to clean their hands afterward if needed.

You will need:

  • a large bowl with construction paper flower petals taped to it - Inside add a caprisun-type drink for each student and then cover them with Cheetos or cheese puff balls
  • wet hand-wipes or baby wipes

A Beka's Science: Order & Design science textbook
A Beka's Science: Order & Design science textbook

Homework

  • Friday: Complete the Build a Bug Worksheet.
  • Monday: Complete 10 squares on the Insect Orders worksheet. Select 10 orders. For each order write the name of 1 or 2 insects in that order, sketch a picture of an insect in that order, and write what distinguishes that order from other insect orders (i.e. leathery wings, scaly wings, bristle tails, etc.).
  • Tuesday: Sketch and identify 3 different insects that you find outside (not ones you have already identified). On each insect be sure to note the antennae, mouth parts, and types of legs. (You might need to capture it in a jar to inspect it more closely.) What order is the insect in? Is it considered beneficial or harmful? Write 2 more interesting facts about each one.
  • Wednesday: Sketch and identify 3 different insects that you find outside (not ones you have already identified). On each insect be sure to note the antennae, mouth parts, and types of legs. (You might need to capture it in a jar to inspect it more closely.) What order is the insect in? Is it considered beneficial or harmful? Write 2 more interesting facts about each one.
  • Extra Credit: (2 tickets) Finish the rest of the Insect Orders worksheet.

Looking for all my lessons?

© 2019 Shannon

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • iijuan12 profile imageAUTHOR

      Shannon 

      3 months ago from Florida

      Thank you!

    • areesha77 profile image

      Areesha Khan 

      3 months ago from Pakistan

      Cool

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)