Objective: Children will explore spiders and their habitat by creating a spider web and spiders.‹ Return to Theme
What You Will Need
- Disposable vinyl tablecloth in a light color
- Permanent marker - black
- Craft sticks or coffee stirrers – at least 12 per child
- Play dough – ½ cup per child
- Pom-poms – at least 6 per child
What To Do
- Cover the top of the table with a disposable vinyl tablecloth and secure the cloth in place with tape.
- Use a permanent marker to draw a large spider web on the tablecloth.
- Put play dough, craft sticks or coffee stirrers, and small pom-poms on the table.
- Review the parts of a spider’s body with the class.
- Encourage the children to use the provided supplies to make spiders.
- Let the children play with their creations on the spider web.
Guiding Student Inquiry
- Describe what a spider web looks like. Is there a pattern?
- Where do you think spiders live?
- How do you think the spider makes its web?
- What is the web made out of?
- What do spiders do in their web?
Explore, Extend & Integrate
- Make this fun snack with your students: "Spider Cookies"
- For the bodies, prepare cracker sandwiches using round crackers and cream cheese.
- For the legs, break four mini-pretzel sticks in half and stick their ends into the cheese between the crackers.
- Use dabs of cream cheese to attach raisin eyes.
- Find a spider web in the school or in the playground and allow the children to observe it, noting the pattern.
- Using thread, have the children make spider webs in the art center.
Check for Children’s Understanding
- Did children understand that a spider makes the web?
- Were children able to talk about the role that the spider web played in the spider’s habitat?
- Were the children able to talk about how spiders make their webs?
Did You Know?
Spiders come in many sizes, shapes, and colors, but they all have certain characteristics in common. All spiders have two body sections (insects have three). Most spiders have four pairs of simple eyes. Some spiders have six, four, two or no eyes. Spiders have eight legs (insects have six legs). Spiders have spinnerets that secrete a liquid that hardens into “silk”, which they use to make webs. Another word for spider is arachnid.
Spiders live almost everywhere except in polar regions. Most spiders build webs. There are several different types of spider webs, but the most common are orb webs and tangle webs. Orb webs are basically flat and built in a spiral sequence around a central hub. The hub, which is slightly above the center of the web, is where spiders lurk. Tangle webs are woven into irregular, three-dimensional shapes. These are commonly called cobwebs.
The construction of a spider web is an intricate process. Spiders spin several radial lines stretched between anchor points. These lines intersect at a central point and connect through a framework. The spider then fills in the web moving from the center out in a clockwise motion. Spider webs are made of silk that comes from the silk glands in their own body. Spiders make different types of threads that make up the web and each thread has a special purpose. For example, some sticky threads are made for trapping prey. Each night, the spider eats the interior of the web and reconstructs it each morning with new silk. Usually spiders do not eat the framework or anchoring lines of the web. This allows the spider to recoup some of the energy used in spinning and to recycle the silk protein.
- web - a thin, open structure made of threads that connect to each other at points; spiders make them.
- spider - a small animal with eight legs and a body made up of two parts.
- arachnid - an animal with four pairs of legs and belonging to the class that includes scorpions, ticks, and spiders.
- crawl - to move around on the ground with your hands and knees.
- small - little; tiny in amount or size.
- silk - fine, soft thread made by a certain insect, or cloth made from this thread.
- If your class is unable to do the project as one large group, use several tablecloths and do the activity in smaller groups.
- If your children are a little older, draw the web with chalk or a dark pencil and let the children outline the web with markers.
- The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle
- Anansi the Spider: A Tale from the Ashanti by Gerald McDermott
- Are You a Spider? by Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries
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Common Core State
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.