Objective: Children will investigate how different insects eat by experimenting with tools that are similar to insects’ mouths.‹ Return to Theme
Note: This activity uses non-food items to avoid food-related concerns in some classrooms. This lesson will be completed in two parts; Part 1 is with the whole group, and Part 2 is in small groups. Place the empty juice container behind a cup filled with colored water, the cereal box behind a bowl of aquarium gravel, and the applesauce container behind a bowl of glue (paste or paint) prior to the start of the lesson. Refill as needed.
1. Display the pictures of the insects’ mouths. Explain the different insect mouths and the different ways insects draw food into their mouths (see Did You Know?).
2. Display the various tools (tweezers, straws, sponges) and discuss how the tools are similar to the insects’ mouths. Match each tool to each type of insect mouth (see Did You Know?).
3. Divide the children into small groups, and tell them they will each get a turn to use the tools.
4. Distribute 1 bowl, tweezers, a straw, and a sponge to each child.
5. Tell them to pretend the bowl is the insect’s stomach and they will use tools to fill the insect’s stomach.
6. Explain that the colored water is thin like juice, aquarium gravel is chunky like cereal, and the glue (paste/paint) is thick like applesauce.
7. Demonstrate using the straw by placing it in water and putting your finger over the opposite end of the straw, and then release the water onto a paper towel.
8. Allow the children to try using tweezers, sponges, and straws to move the materials into their insect’s stomach (bowl).
9. Discuss which instruments worked best for the different materials. Have children explain the difficulties they encountered picking up the materials with the various instruments.
Insects’ bodies are designed to help them live in their environment. Insects’ mouths are designed specifically to access their favorite foods. Ants and caterpillars have strong jaws, like the tweezers, to grip and chew their food. Butterflies and bees have a proboscis, which is a long tube, like a straw, for sucking up nectar. House flies are insects that draw liquids from food into their mouths like a sponge.
Insects will go almost anywhere to get food. Due to their small size and ability to fly, there is almost nowhere on land they cannot go to get food. All insects eat, but not all insects eat the same types of foods. Some insects eat grass and leaves. Other insects each mushy food like soft, decaying garbage. Still other types of insects eat only liquids. Many insects such as mosquitos, bees, and butterflies siphon their food. Some of the insects who get their food this way pierce it first, like the mosquito.
These lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards ("CCSS"). The CCSS provide a consistent, clear understanding of the concepts and skills children are expected to learn and guide teachers to provide their students with opportunities to gain these important skills and foundational knowledge.
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There are currently no Common Core Standards for pre-k, but these lessons are aligned as closely as possible to capture the requirements and meet the goals of Common Core Standards. However, these lessons were neither reviewed or approved by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices or the Council of Chief State School Officers, which together are the owners and developers of the Common Core State Standards.
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