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Bodacious Bugs! Concepts and Goals
Through the upper elementary years, children often continue to have questions and express curiosity about the world around them. Often, they are particularly fascinated with things that creep and crawl. Children from 8 to 12 are frequently very fascinated with the extreme, the disgusting, and the amazing, all of which is readily found in the insect kingdom! They enjoy exploring and investigating, hands-on experimentation, and learning by interacting with their environment. However, children who will struggle with reading are beginning to show signs of it around this age, and the heavier workload at school begins to frustrate children with the process of learning. Science is becoming a subject with more weight in the school curriculum, and the insect life processes are readily available for children to explore and practice their investigative skills. Fascinating nonfiction can encourage even reluctant readers to practice their reading skills and continue to learn and grow.
This library kit will introduce an upper elementary child to the wilder side of the insect kingdom through videos, music, stories, informational books, activities, experiments and crafts.
Book List: Bodacious Bugs!
1. Berry, C. E. 1988. A Child’s First Library of Learning: Insect World. Alexandria, Virginia: Time-Life Books.
A full-color question-and-answer book that answers almost every question your young bug-lover might want to know. Illustrations, diagrams, photographs and captions give lots of fun facts about insects, arachnids and some other land invertebrates. Notes to parents on each page contain more in-depth information to help answer other questions a child might have or provide discussion opportunities.
2. Boring, Mel. 1996. Take-Along Guide: Caterpillars, Bugs and Butterflies. Minnetonka, Minnesota: NorthWord Press.
A great intermediate guide for growing readers, this bug field guide offers colorful drawings of common insects, one per page. In a structured format, it names the insect, describes its appearance and offers a section on its diet and where it is commonly found. Scattered among the definitions are projects for young explorers, including making moth sugar to attract moths, and calculating the temperature by listening to the crickets.
3. Bulion, Leslie. 2006. Hey There, Stink Bug! Watertown, Massachusetts: Charlesbridge.
Combining information with short, often humorous poetry, this book takes a look at some of nature’s most fascinating insects. After highlighting their unique qualities in funny rhyme, short write-ups explain the science and facts that inspired the verse in kid-friendly terms.
4. Capeci, Anne. 2001. The Magic School Bus Chapter Book: Insect Invaders. New York: Scholastic.
The Magic School Bus may be venturing into chapter books, but it has lost none of its appeal in this adventurous trip into the park. When Wanda’s pet ladybugs go missing during a lesson on insects, the irrepressible Ms. Frizzle decides the best way to find them is for the class to become insects themselves! Backed by the entomologists at the American Museum of Natural History, this book combines loads of facts with page-turning action as Wanda and her friends battle giant red ants, wasps and a spider or two on their quest to save the lost ladybugs.
5. Greenburg, J.C. 2003. Andrew Lost in the Garden. New York: Random House.
Andrew, his cousin Judy, and their robot, Thudd are on their way to another adventure. After shrinking the trio of them with his newest invention, Andrew and the gang hitch a ride out of the house by fly. Now the challenge is to cross the yard and get back to the house without getting killed or eaten by giant bugs! To make matters worse, Andrew’s invention is on overload, and if it explodes before they can reach it and grow back to normal, they’ll be stuck in their shrunken state for good.
6. High Definition 3D. 2001. Bugs. New York: Sterling.
This awesome 3D book will keep kids coming back! Equipped with the included 3D glasses, older readers can dive into an explosion of color, facts, maps, photos and the amazing 3D insects that quite literally jump out of the page at their readers. Lots of other interesting details, crisp pictures and short text bytes will catch readers’ attention even after the glasses come off. A must-read for the adventurous bug explorer.
7. Llewellyn, Claire. 2008. Ask Dr. K. Fisher about Creepy-Crawlies. New York: Kingfisher.
A unique and funny book that highlights interesting and unusual facts about bugs and similar creatures in the form of an “Ask Dr. Phil” column. Concerned species write in to Dr. K. Fisher with their worries and questions, and Dr. Fisher graciously writes back to explain their bodies and reassure them. With hilarious collage and cartoon illustrations, and frank, funny writing, this book delivers its informative medicine with plenty of sugar to keep older readers engaged.
8. Miller, Connie Colwell. 2007. Disgusting Bugs. Mankato, Minnesota: Capstone.
Sure to get your gorge rising, this book is filled with disgusting facts and pictures of bugs and the gross things they do. The text is simple enough for even the most reluctant readers, and the gross-out factor will catch their attention and leave them wanting more.
9. Prischmann, Deirdre A. 2008. Goliath Bird-Eating Spiders and Other Extreme Bugs. Mankato, Minnesota: Capstone Press.
Highlighting some of the most unusual and amazing insect and arachnid species in the world, this book will impress bug-lovers and kids who love gross at the same time. From spiders that fish to gigantic hissing cockroaches to insects that can only live with half-frozen bodies, this book has it all. Huge, up-close photographs and exciting graphic art combined with straightforward text and quick-reference definitions make this a welcoming read even reluctant readers can enjoy.
10. Schlessinger Media. 2006. Animal Life for Children: All About Bugs. (DVD) Wynnewood, PA: Library Video Company. 23 min.
This video examines the anatomy, characteristics and habits of bugs (and arachnids) in a kid-friendly way. It is narrated by both children and adults, and includes instructions for building a homemade bug vacuum trap. Plenty of up-close insect capture video will up the gross-out factor for youngsters who like the creepy, crawly side of bugs.
11. Sutherland, Jonathan. 2006. Nature’s Monsters: Flying Insects. Milwaukee: Gareth Stevens Publishing.
One of a series of amazingly illustrated books, this miniature field guide will get kids up-close and personal with some dangerous and amazing bugs like the flesh fly, the bluebottle, and the tsetse fly. Full-page illustrations in a skewed-perspective style make these bugs almost come straight off the page. Quick captions, illustrated size comparisons, maps and text-byte factoids flesh out this book, making it a satisfying read for older kids.
12. Wilsdon, Christina. 1998. National Audubon Society First Field Guide: Insects. New York: Scholastic.
Perfectly built for the school-age entomologist, this book will keep bug lovers coming back to pore over its pages. Set up just like a grown-up’s field guide, the book features a plethora of species with full-color photographs and facts and statistics to inform and assist in identification. Pages include full-color photographs, identification tips and sidebars with look-alikes or relatives to help keep hunters from getting confused.
Web Sites about BUGS!
“Bug Facts” from the Royal Alberta Museum of Canada -- http://www.royalalbertamuseum.ca/natural/insects/bugsfaq/bugsfaq.htm
This site offers an extensive photo gallery of hundreds of different insects, each linked to a fact page with extra pictures and identification tips.
Canadian Museum of Nature -- http://www.nature.ca/notebooks/english/invertpg.htm
A site categorizing many invertebrates, each section offers an overview of a broad category of invertebrates (ants, bees, etc.). Within the pages, the site gives overviews of the species and a photo gallery.
Enchanted Learning: Insect Page -- http://www.enchantedlearning.com/themes/insects.shtml
With something for all ages, this Web site covers it all from rhymes, games and crafts to printable books and information. For the older student, this site offers calendars, drawing practice, graphic organizers for school writing and reports, and insect anatomy charts.
Insect Aerodynamics -- http://wings.avkids.com/Book/Animals/intermediate/insects-01.html
Ever wondered how insects fly? This Web site has the answer in a colorful, informative online report. Though the insect flight information is contained on one page, the site is linked to other information of interest, like how birds fly.
Bug and Insect Games -- http://www.primarygames.com/science/insects/games.htm
Butterfly Games -- http://www.primarygames.com/science/butterflies/games.htm
When bug-lovers aren’t outdoors, they’ll want to be online at this site overflowing with arcade-style bug, insect, and butterfly games. Work jigsaw puzzles, dodge crows, play matching games and more.
Virtual Insects -- http://home.comcast.net/~sharov/3d/virtual.html
3D models of kids’s favorite insects along with plenty of links to other sites that feature each specific bug are housed on this site. For the older student, the site also contains information about how the 3D models were created.
Yahoo! Kids: Insects Page -- http://kids.yahoo.com/animals/insects
An online insect “field guide,” this site lists a multitude of common (and less common) insects and arachnids. Each is linked to its own page with photos, identification tips and basic stats: length, habitat, and range.
Yupis Insect Games -- http://en.yupis.org/insect-games/
A kid-friendly site full of online insect-themed games. Help the ants get their eggs safely to their new home, destroy the giant insects attacking Planet Earth, or save your colony’s hive from destruction.
Activity: Beetle Battle!
Taken from Scholastic’s The Magic School Bus: A Better Way to Battle Beetles! (Scholastic, Inc., 2011) Retrieved from http://www.scholastic.com/magicschoolbus/games/experiments/beetles.htm
Cayenne (red) pepper)
You will need:
Garden, park, or place with leafy plants
Tip: Be sure to wash your hands with hot soapy water when you are done with this experiment.
What did you learn?
How did the bugs respond to the hot pepper? Did they stay off those leaves or keep eating them?
How did they respond to the vinegar?
How did they respond to the lemon juice?
Which ones worked best to keep the bugs away?
Many farmers use chemical bug sprays to protect their crops, which can hurt the environment. Chemicals can hurt animals who eat the sprayed bugs, or get into the soil and water and damage them. Organic farmers use natural products like vinegar and hot pepper instead to keep their crops safe without damaging the environment. And it’s healthier for us too!
Activity: Pitfall Trap
Taken from MakeitWork: Insects by Andrew Haslam (Princeton: Two-Can, 1993).
Question: What can I learn from looking at bugs?
The best way to find out about bugs is to look at them. The best way to catch bugs to look at them is with a pitfall trap. You can find the materials you need around your home or outside.
Craft: Honey Bee Home
Taken from Arty Facts: Insects , Bugs & Art Activities, edited by Ellen Rodger (New York: Crabtree, 2002)
Honeycomb patterns (You need 5 to make this project)
Yellow, orange, and black paint
Big and small paintbrushes
1 sheet of tissue paper
1 sheet of plain cardstock
10 small black buttons/pompoms
You will need:
Glue or tape
Source: http://www.evilmadscientist.com/article.php/hexbox (adapted)
1. Cut around the outside of the five hexagonal (six-sided) patterns.
3. Paint all five hexagon patterns yellow and orange with the big paintbrush. Paint on both sides. Be sure to rinse your brush as soon as you are finished!
4. Paint one sheet of plain cardstock yellow on both sides.
5. While the paint is drying, fold the tissue paper in half several times and cut out a bumblebee wing shape. They look a little like fat teardrops! You will need ten wings.
6. When the paint is dry, cut five ovals out of the plain sheet of cardstock you painted. These will be your bumblebees
7. With the small paint brush, paint black stripes and a mouth on both sides of each bumblebee. Be sure to rinse your brush out as soon as you are finished!
8. Glue black pompoms or button on each bee for eyes (one on each side).
9. Cut five short pieces of string (about six inches).
10. Glue or tape one end of each string to the middle of the bumblebees’ backs. You can glue a few pieces on the bottom of each one for legs if you want.
11. Glue two wings on each bumblebee and put them someplace safe to dry.
12. When your hexagon boxes are dry, make folds along all the lines. Fold each triangle in against the rectangle.
13. Then fold each rectangle into the center.
14. Open the hexagon back up. Glue or tape the back of each triangle to the rectangle next to it. Do this until you have a box with six sides.
15. Do the same thing for all five boxes. Then glue or tape the boxes together. Use three to make the bottom row and two to make the top row. Make sure the pointy sides of the boxes point up and down.
16. Glue the strings of each bumblebee to the tops of each box and let them hang inside their honeycomb.
Bodacious Bugs! Kit Checklist
Web Site List
Activity and Craft Supplies (all returned unless indicated)
Supplies and Pricing: Bodacious Bugs!
Books & Audio-Visual
$9.50 A Child’s First Library of Learning: Insect World
$16.95 Take-Along Guide: Caterpillars, Bugs and Butterflies
$11.01 Hey There, Stink Bug!
$11.99 The Magic School Bus Chapter Book: Insect Invaders
$3.99 Andrew Lost in the Garden
$4.94 Bugs (High Definition 3D) with 2 sets of 3D glasses
$9.31 Ask Dr. K. Fisher about Creepy-Crawlies
$25.79 Disgusting Bugs
$23.93 Goliath Bird-Eating Spiders and Other Extreme Bugs
$26.00 Nature’s Monsters: Flying Insects
$14.99 National Audubon Society First Field Guide: Insects
$14.99 Animal Life for Children: All about Bugs
(Note: Pricing does not reflect library discounts)
Activity and Craft Supplies
$7.15 Cayenne pepper, 16 oz *CONSUMABLE*
$1.99 Lemon juice bottle *CONSUMABLE*
$2.19 32 oz distilled white vinegar *CONSUMABLE*
$1.49 Mini spray bottles (3)
$2.00 Magnifying glass
$14.99 100 pk cardstock for honeycomb patterns *CONSUMABLE*
$1.00 DMC gold embroidery floss, 6 pk *CONSUMABLE*
$0.67 Acrylic paint (yellow, black, orange) *CONSUMABLE*
$0.99 Painter’s throwaway paintbrush
$2.00 30 pk kids paintbrushes
$1.00 20 sheets tissue paper *CONSUMABLE*
$1.00 100 pk 3mm pom poms *CONSUMABLE*
Total starting cost $209.86