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    Investigation 1: Mealworms Investigation 3: Milkweed Bugs
      1.1 Mealworms
    1.2 Larva, Pupa, Adult
    1.3 Life Cycle
      3.1 Egg
    3.2 Habitats
    3.3 Growing Milkweed Bugs
           
    Investigation 5: Butterflies Investigation 6: Other Insects
      5.1 Caterpillars
    5.2 Chrysalises
    5.3 Butterflies
      6.1 Crickets
    6.2 Ants
    6.3 Aquatic Insects

     Note: We recommend teachers skip Investigation 2 (Waxworms) and Investigation 4 (Silkworms)


    Investigation 1: Mealworms

    Each student receives two larval mealworms in a vial to care for and observe. Over 10 weeks students observe the larvae grow, molt, pupate, and turn into beetles (adults), which mate, lay eggs, and die.

    1.1 Mealworms

    Key Activity - What Students Do

    Students begin their study of insects. They meet mealworms and observe their structures and behaviors. Each student keeps two mealworms on his or her desk, attends to their needs—food, water, space, and air—and starts a pictorial record of the insect’s life.

    Key Learning/NGSS Connections - What do Students figure out?

    Insects need air, water, food and space.
    Live organisms net to be treated with care and respect.

    Big Idea - Focus Questions

    What do insects need?
    What are the structures and behavior of mealworms?

    Connection to Anchoring Phenomenon

    Mealworms are also insects.  Mealworms progress through several stages in their life cycle.

     

    1.2 Larva, Pupa, Adult

    Key Activity - What Students Do

    Part 2 is a series of minisessions that are conducted whenever students observe a change in their mealworms. They discuss molting, pupation, adults, and mating. They learn the three parts of an insect: head, thorax, and abdomen. Students observe, compare, and draw the mealworms as they progress through their stages.

    Key Learning/NGSS Connections - What do Students figure out?

    Insects have characteristic structures and behaviors.
    The structures of some insects change as the insect grow.
    As insects grow, the molt their hard, external covering.
    Adult insects have a head, thorax and abdomen.

    Big Idea - Focus Questions

    How do mealworms grow and change?
    What are the structures and behavior of mealworm larvae, pupae, and adults?

     

    Formative Assessment Task

    Science Notebooks: Students draw and write observations in their science notebooks.

    1.3 Life Cycle

    Key Activity - What Students Do

    Students discover tiny larvae in the class mealworm culture several weeks after adults appear. The mealworm story is wrapped up with a discussion of life cycle and metamorphosis.

    Key Learning/NGSS Connections - What do Students figure out?

    The life cycle of the beetle is egg, larvae, pupa and adult, which produces eggs.

    Big Idea - Focus Questions

    How do new mealworms begin?

     

    Formative Assessment Task

    Science  Notebook: Check for increasing observational skills and understanding of the mealworm lifecycle.


    Investigation 3: Milkweed Bugs

    Groups of students receive vials of milkweed bug eggs. Each group prepares a habitat for the bugs, providing air, space, food, and water. They observe structure, pattern, and behavior as the insects advance through simple metamorphosis.

    3.1 Egg

    Key Activity - What Students Do

    Students observe the tiny yellow or orange milkweed bug eggs in vials and guess what they are.

    Key Learning/NGSS Connections - What do Students figure out?

    Insects hatch from eggs,
    Live organisms should be treated with care and respect.

    Big Idea - Focus Questions

    How do insects begin their life?
    What do insect eggs look like?

    Connection to Anchoring Phenomenon

    Milkweed bugs are insects.  They go through several stages in life as well.

     

    3.2 Habitats

    Key Activity - What Students Do

    Students prepare milkweed bug habitats for the nymphs and outfit them with food (sunflower seeds), water, air, and space. They hang up the habitat in the classroom.

    Key Learning/NGSS Connections - What do Students figure out?

    Needs of insects include air, food water and space, and these are met in different ways for different insects.

    Big Idea - Focus Questions

    What do milkweed bugs need?
    How do their needs compare to those of other insects?

    Formative Assessment Task

    Science Notebooks: Students draw label milkweed bug habitats to show what insects need to survive.

    3.3 Growing Milkweed Bugs

    Key Activity - What Students Do

    Students care for the bugs and observe the changes that occur as the bugs mature. They will observe egg hatching, molting, feeding, growth, movement, change of color pattern, mating, egg laying, and death—leading to opportunities to develop the concept of life cycle.

    Key Learning/NGSS Connections - What do Students figure out?

    As insects grow, they molt their hard external covering.
    Insects have three body parts: head, thorax, and abdomen.
    The life cycle of some insects is egg, nymph stages, and adult, which produces eggs.

    Big Idea - Focus Questions

    What is the life cycle of the milkweed bug
    Do all insects go through larval and pupal stages?
    How are all insects the same and different?

     

    Formative Assessment Task

    Have students create a lifecycle of an imaginary insect – the “Triangle Bug.”  Have them show how it progresses through metamorphisis.

    Investigation 5: Butterflies

    The class observes the painted lady larvae grow, pupate, and emerge as adults. Students experience the stages of complete metamorphosis and compare the behaviors of moths and butterflies.

    5.1 Caterpillars

    Key Activity - What Students Do

    Students are introduced to a painted lady caterpillar (larval stage) and observe it closely to determine its structures. They monitor its behaviors—eating, moving, molting—until it pupates in a chrysalis.

    Key Learning/NGSS Connections - What do Students figure out?

    Insects need air, water, food and space.
    Live organisms need to be treated with care and respect.
    Insect larvae have common structures, such as six legs and three body parts.

    Big Idea - Focus Questions

    What do insects need?
    What are the structures of the butterfly larvae?

    Connection to Anchoring Phenomenon

    The life cycle of the Painted Lady (in class) is the same as the life cycle of the Monarch (in the phenomenon video.)

    Formative Assessment Task

    Have students predict in their Science Notebooks now the larvae will develop.

    5.2 Chrysalises

    Key Activity - What Students Do

    The painted lady pupae are transferred to a net cage to prepare for the emergence of adult painted ladies.

    Key Learning/NGSS Connections - What do Students figure out?

    Butterflies construct chrysalises when they pupate.

    Big Idea - Focus Questions

    How do butterfly larvae turn into butterflies?
    Are butterfly and moth pupae the same?

     

    5.3 Butterflies

    Key Activity - What Students Do

    Students observe butterflies feeding at a sugar- water fountain, watch for mating, and search for eggs. With luck some eggs will hatch, and tiny larvae will emerge to start the cycle again.

    Key Learning/NGSS Connections - What do Students figure out?

    Adult insects have common structures, including six legs  and three body parts.
    The life cycle of the butterfly is egg, larva, pupa, and adult, which produces eggs.

    Big Idea - Focus Questions

    What is the life cycle of butterflies?

     

    Formative Assessment Task

    Have students create the life cycle stages of an imaginary moth – the “Square Moth.”

    Investigation 6: Other Insects

    The class sets up habitats and observes the structures and behaviors of house crickets, ants, and aquatic insects.

    6.1 Crickets

    Key Activity - What Students Do

    Students set up a colony of crickets in a multichambered habitat. Students may observe feeding, elaborate antenna activity, chirping, jumping, egg laying in soil, and life cycle.

    Key Learning/NGSS Connections - What do Students figure out?

    All insects need air, water, food and space.
    Crickets hatch from eggs and become nymphs, then adults, which produce new eggs.

    Big Idea - Focus Questions

    What do insects need?
    What is the life cycle of crickets?

    Connection to Anchoring Phenomenon

    This is a great time to explore what organisms need to survive and reproduce.

     

    6.2 Ants

    Key Activity - What Students Do

    The class sets up an ant farm and observes the tunneling behavior of these industrious social insects. Students might also observe chamber excavating, feeding, and communication between ants.

    Key Learning/NGSS Connections - What do Students figure out?

    Insects have common structures, including six legs and three body parts.
    All insects need air, water, food and space.

    Big Idea - Focus Questions

    What do ants need?
    What are the structures and behaviors of ants?

     

    6.3 Aquatic Insects

    Key Activity - What Students Do

    Students set up a classroom culture of aquatic insects. Students may observe swimming behaviors, breathing strategies, feeding, and metamorphosis.

    Key Learning/NGSS Connections - What do Students figure out?

    Some insects spend all or part of their lives in water.
    All insects need air, water, food and space.

    Big Idea - Focus Questions

    What insects live in water?
    What do aquatic insects need?