Adopt-An-Insect Lesson Plans

Adopt-An-Insect Report Worksheet (T. (Trimpe) Tomm, Havana Junior High, Havana, IL)
For this activity, students "adopt" a specific insect, then cruise the web to complete the worksheet with information about their minibeast. From food sources to life cycles, students gain insight into the life of their insect. Once the worksheets are completed, allow time for the students to analyze similarities and differences between their insects and those of their classmates.

Student Worksheet: Adopt-An-Insect Report (pdf)

Also available ... My seventh grade students focus on Butterflies and Moths for the Adopt-An-Insect unit. The use the Butterflies of Illinois website to complete a Adopt-A-Butterfly Report (pdf). I prepared a list of common butterflies for our state using the ones provided on this site and have each student draw one for the report. I also provide the Adopt-A-Butterfly Report Requirements (pdf) to make sure they know what each section requires. The worksheet provides a map of Illinois since that the state we are in. You can paste a copy of your state map over the Illinois map.


Insect Scavenger Hunt (Adapted from a variety of sources)
Use these scavenger hunts as your students explore a local nature area or your school yard. The pdf version contains three scavenger hunts ranging from easy to hard.

Student Worksheets: Insect Hunts (pdf)

Insect Challenge Project (T. (Trimpe) Tomm, Havana Junior High School, Havana, IL)
Take the scavenger hunt to a new level! The page resembles a "Jeopardy" board. Items are divided into 4 topics with 10 items listed under each one. Students search a nature area or schoolyard for insects that match the descriptions listed on the worksheet. This project is assigned after we have discussed the vocabulary from our insect unit (anatomy, defense mechanisms, and metamorphosis) as well as each of the insect orders listed on the worksheet. Need a great resource for your insect unit? Buy a copy of Insects: A Science Activity Book by Pat and Barbara Ward (ISBN # - 1-58037-075-6). This book provides lots of great information pages as well as student Worksheets!

I usually allow 5-6 class periods for students to search our Nature Center garden and schoolyard. Students are also allowed to bring in insects they catch at home. They may earn a total of 220 points if they find insects that match all the descriptions on the worksheet. If you don't have a lot of time, reduce the amount of points needed, such as 150 points for an A+. Calculate the other grades based on the reduced point amount.

Students are required to identify each insect and its order (as specific as possible depending on the type of ID guides you have) to receive credit. Students must also tell me where they want to use a specific insect, since one insect could match two or three different boxes. After I've initialed the box/item, students release the insect and search for another one. Students can only use an insect for one box/item. If they want to use a grasshopper for two different items, they must catch two different grasshoppers.

Student Worksheet: Insect Challenge Project (pdf)

• Since I only have 12 insect nets, I allow students to work in pairs during class. I warn them that if someone is not being a good partner (not helping, goofing around, etc.) that person will not be awarded any points.
• Students are allowed to bring in insects from home. I only award points to the student who brought them in rather than both people in the pair. If students go bug hunting with someone else, I tell them to find two of everything so both of them will earn points.
• I also discuss cheating with the students. They are not allowed to pass an insect to another student/pair as this is similar to giving someone an answer on an assignment or test. Students are also not allowed to catch someone else's insect right after it is released. I tell them to spend their time finding their own insects rather than picking up the leftovers. I have a few that ask, "How will you know?" I tell them that they better hope I don't catch them. If I catch them cheating, they will lose all the points they have collected to that point!
• Emphasize that this is a "catch and release" project. The goal is catch the insect, identify it, and release it back into the garden or schoolyard. Students should be careful not to injure or kill the insect. I also discourage students from bringing in moths and butterflies they catch at home as the wings might be damaged while stored in a container. I also tell them not to bring in insects that sting. We can catch these types of insects in the garden or spot them from a distance!


Birds & Caterpillars
I use this lesson as part of the Adopt-An-Insect unit to investigate defense mechanisms, such as camouflage, eyespots, bright colors, etc. Students take on the role of a bird in search of caterpillars, which are colored pasta pieces. After the hunt for food, students brainstorm a list of other defense mechanisms used by insects. They spend time looking for insects in the Nature Center garden and complete the Daily Defenders worksheet. Complete details and lesson worksheets are provided in the pdf download.

Teacher and Student Worksheets: Birds & Caterpillars (pdf)


Musical Insects (T. (Trimpe) Tomm & C. Koehler, Havana Junior High, Havana, IL)
Need ideas to spice up your music lessons? Use insects! Check out this list of ideas that can be used to bring the world of insects into your music classes.

Teacher Information Page: Musical Insects (pdf)


Piece by Piece (T. (Trimpe) Tomm, Havana Junior High, Havana, IL)
During this project, students will create an insect puzzle - piece by piece-working from a sample photograph. This great lesson for math class challenges students to use scale to create one piece of a puzzle. When all the pieces are completed, students can piece them together to get the big picture!

Teacher Information Page: Piece by Piece (pdf)


The Butterfly Project (Sue Hallmark, Havana Junior High, Havana, IL)
During this project created by one of our junior high math teachers, students used rubber bands to enlarge photographs of butterflies available at the Butterflies of Illinois website.

Teacher Information Page: The Butterfly Project (pdf)


Torn Insect Art (Submitted by Kelly Matlick, Illinois)
Challenge your students to create an insect using their knowledge of insect anatomy.

Student Worksheet: Insect Art (pdf)


Insect Mania (T. (Trimpe) Tomm, Havana Junior High, Havana, IL)
One requirement of the Adopt-An-Insect project in 7th grade is to complete an Insect Mania project. I have provided several ideas for insect related projects including Insect Jeopardy, Butterfly Fact Cards, and more! The projects created by my students are shared with K-4 students at our elementary school.

Student Worksheet: Insect Mania (pdf)


Megabeast (T. (Trimpe) Tomm, Havana Junior High, Havana, IL)
During this project, students are challenged to create models of insects from the ancient world. Using an insect specimen and a scale process, students will design and construct a model that is ten times the size of the original.

(1) Students will need to obtain a preserved specimen of an insect or detailed photograph.
(2) Allow time for students to draw a detailed diagram of their insect. The diagram should be labeled with as much information as possible, such as overall length, width, girth, wingspan as well as details of the parts found on your insect. Accurate measurements are important for an accurate finished project.
(3) All measurements need to be converted to scale measurements for your model. Students should record their calculations in the space provided in Part B and note the new measurements on their diagram in Part A.
(4) Challenge students to create a 3-D “megabeast” model of their insect using available materials. The model should be as realistic as possible and be able to hang from a ceiling hook. Students will need to consider using materials that will be able to create a large project with as little weight as possible. A few suggestions are paper mache, tissue paper, sheets of plastic, fabric, and netting.

Student Worksheet: Megabeast (pdf)


A Bug's Life (T. (Trimpe) Tomm & L. Range, Havana Junior High, Havana, IL)
Challenge your students to develop a presentation for their classmates related to life in "Bug Land", a land where the people have been magically transformed into insects. Students utilize Internet resources to investigate their insect (foods, habitats, adaptations, etc.) and work as a team to create a 5-10 minute presentation.

Student Worksheet: A Bug's Life (pdf)


Adopt-An-Insect Bingo Game (T. (Trimpe) Tomm, Havana Junior High School, Havana, IL)
I use this game to review the vocabulary covered during our annual Adopt-An-Insect unit. The download contains a bingo card as well as clue cards. I print the clues on an overhead transparency, then cut them apart and put on the overhead during the game. I give the kids a roll of Smarties to use as markers, but warn them that don't get to eat them unless they are good. I also challenge the kids tell me what each term means when they read off their bingos. I encourage the students to make notes on their bingo card during the game so they can use the page to study for the unit test.

Student Worksheet: Adopt-An-Insect Bingo Game Card (pdf)

Also available ... World of Insects Word Find Puzzle (pdf) by Tracy (Trimpe) Tomm - Challenge your students to find all the words in the word list! Once they are done with the puzzle, have them create a concept map on the back of the page using at least 15 of the terms in the puzzle.


Internet Scavenger Hunts & Other Ideas
Eyewitness Insect Video Quiz (pdf) - I have my students take notes during the video to help them on the quiz or you can have them complete the quiz as they watch the video (it goes in order).
Insect Jokes Page (pdf) - Use this page of bug jokes for extra credit or just extra laughs!
Internet Bug Hunt (pdf) - Use the sites listed in the Insect Links section of the Kid Zone to learn more about insects!
.Adopt-An-Insect Word Find (pdf) - Challenge your students to find all the insect-related terms and names of common insects in this word search puzzle.


Activities, lessons, & worksheets available on any page of this web site are intended for use by a single teacher in his/her classroom or to share at educational conferences. Reproduction for commercial use or profit is not permitted without the express written consent of Mrs. Tracy Tomm. Visit my Frequently Asked Questions page for more details!


Back to Project Description

Also available ...
Adopt-An-Insect Resources (Websites & Books)

Visit the Insect Collection Idea page for traps and collection devices!

Challenge your students with Adopt-An-Insect Trivia
Daily Science Trivia

Also available ...
Word Find (pdf)

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