Insect Lesson Plans

Biodiversity and Sampling

For this exercise, we will be collecting data on locating insect populations using a variety of sampling techniques.

Insect Anatomy

For this exercise, we will examine lubber grasshoppers, which exhibit a generalized insect form. In addition, we will examine examples of antennae, wings, and legs that differ from the grasshoppers' generalized form.

Insect Growth & Development

This activity uses silverfish, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, and mealworm beetles as examples to demonstrate ametabolous, hemimetabolous, and holometabolous forms of insect growth and development. All three insects are well suited for use as classroom colonies for several reasons.

Insect Communication

The three most common methods of communication in insects are auditory (sounds), olfactory (chemical odors), and visual (sight). In this exercise we will look at how these three forms of communication work in nocturnal (night-active) insects.

Insect Feeding & Pollination

Participants learn about the advantages and disadvantages of different feeding strategies while they race to gather the most pollen.

Monarch Butterfly Development Migration

The activity described here allows students to act out and experience butterfly development from egg through caterpillar to chrysalis and finally adult, with all of the perils that go along with being a caterpillar.

Nocturnal Feeding & Pollination

In this activity, students will become hawkmoths and attempt to collect nectar and pollen from flowers while avoiding becoming prey to the predators lurking in the garden. They will investigate the proboscis of the moth as an adaptation allowing it to feed and survive. They also will investigate ways living things interact with each other in the nocturnal garden.

Termite Communication

To conduct this study, students should be divided into groups with each group receiving a selection containing a variety of pens (must include at least one of either Scripto® or Papermate® product), some blank newsprint, and a container of termites. Students should place a few termites on the paper and observe and record their activity, asking questions such as, "Do the termites exhibit any pattern to their movements?" or "Do they go in any particular direction?"