What would spring and summer be without bugs? This is a theme with lots of ready-made options for decorating the classroom. Buggy for Bugs Behavior bulletin board makes behavior management quick and easy, TCR’s We’ve Got the Writing Bug Mini Bulletin Board Set features the writing process, and Carson Dellosa’s Buggy for Learning has lots of happy cartoon insects.
Trend’s Buggy for Books is another cute bulletin board set with associated accessories.
Grab their title and be “Buggy for Learning,” or for second grade or math or whatever your class is all about. Other bulletin board slogans for your insect theme classroom:
- We’re a-buzz for math!
- Flying high!
- Don’t bug us– we’re studying!
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Continue saving your personal energy by printing out some reproducibles:
- Lots of insect coloring pages here, in alphabetical order.
- Insects at Enchanted Learning has reproducibles ranging from ant picnic writing paper to mosquito life cycle sequencing cards. There is also an activity here in which the kids circle the correctly-spelled insect names, a math worksheet, and some foreign language materials.
- A well-designed insect worksheet that would be a great page in a science journal or class bug book, or a good start to a report on an particular insect.
And here are some bug games to print out:
- Nice, simple bug dominoes to print out and put in a center.
- An insect wordsearch from Science Spot.
- Cute but cartoony bug bingo cards.
Once you’ve dressed up your room, you may want to study insects as well. In general, I follow the national science standards and include the following topics in all lessons on living things:
- the morphology, or shapes of the creatures
- their life cycles
- their habitats
- their relationships to humans
With insects, this settles down to a lesson on the three body parts, eyes, wings, antennae, and internal organs; a discussion of metamorphosis, complete and incomplete; an acknowledgment that everything we usually say about habitats is is irrelevant to insects; and a rich history of love and hate between humans and insects.
Here are some online resources for insect lesson plans:
- “The Old Woman Who Was Kind to Insects” is a brief story from the Inuit. In it, an old woman is left behind when her nomadic community lives on, with only a few insects to eat. She spares the insects, and they arrange for her to become young again. This is not a heartwarming story, exactly, but it is a very interesting one, with many opportunities to discuss things like Inuit culture, the way old people are treated in different societies, literal and metaphorical metamorphosis… It is one of a collection of stories about generosity, including activities for grades 9 through 12. The story is short enough to read aloud, and a good choice for illustrating — naturally, you’ll include plenty of insect observation
- An Insect Scrapbook is a wonderfully open-ended project that lends itself not only to science, but also to art and writing. You can start a collection of insect books for future classes to enjoy. You’ve probably done something of this kind before, but it may have been a while since you’ve done it. Sometimes I need a reminder of things I got tired of at some point in the past.
- Orkin Virtual Roach is positively creepy, as well as a wonderfully thorough examination of insect anatomy. This is a good alternative to observing live insects if you’d rather not have them in your classroom.
- A Steampunk bug craft project is a serious art lesson for older students.
In fact, there’s nothing like having some actual bugs in the classroom to add life to your insect theme. The Insect Lore Praying Mantis Pagoda Kit is a great way to introduce kids to one of the more dramatic insects. Their Creature Peeper lets you catch your own bugs and share them, confident that they’re safer than in the old jam jar.
Here’s a buggy center we like. This center works on spelling, but you can use it for anything that involves sorting.
- Open a file folder and lay it out.
- Choose a cutout that goes with your theme — we picked a ladybug. Label the cutouts with the categories you’re using. We’re using three possible spellings of a sound: “-le,” “-al,” and “-el.”
- Attach the cutouts to the file folder, leaving an opening in the center.
- Attach a pocket to the file folder. Write the directions on the pocket.
- Write out sorting cards, either on 3×5″ cards or on smaller cutouts. We’re using insect words like “mandible,” “larval,” and “damselfly.” We wrote them with blanks (“mandib_ _”) so students could decide whether they belonged with the “-le” group (correct), the “-al,” or the “-el.” Write the answer on the back of the card so your center will be self-checking.
- Put the sorting cards into the pocket, close up the file folder, and put it into your centers area.
Here are the words we used: