Mid-September through October is a terrific time to go insect hunting. Cicada exoskeletons, molting wooly bears, swallowtail butterflies, praying mantids, katydids, crickets, fireflies, and more are abundant in Connecticut during this time of year. Bring in a few insect specimens from diverse species for up-close observation. Additionally, purchase insect larvae from such suppliers as Insect Lore (see "Internet Resources"). Establish an "Observation Station" in your classroom: on a rotating basis, have groups of students visit the station to observe the live specimens. Have your "blossoming entomologists" record their observations in a Science journal, illustrating and jotting down key facts regarding what they visually experience. Schedule the viewings so that students can record their observations on an ongoing basis. By administering this procedure, students can experience the social interaction and overall life cycle of the viewed specimens. As they make their observations, have them list additional questions they might have regarding observed growth and development. Have a rich supply of general resources on hand that accommodate all reading levels and student-inquiry based interest. Urge students to make use of these non-fiction resources to acquire additional background knowledge and supportive detail.
Further Investigation & Classification Revisited
Introduce students to scientific names used to classify specific insect types. Reinforce that (as previously noted under the "Insects Defined" section of this report) insects belong to a family or phylum of living things known as arthropods. Bugs too can be classified as arthropods; however, all insects are not classified as bugs. In non-scientific terms, "bugs" are defined as an animal having segmented body parts, but with no less or more than six legs. Spiders, for example, are classified as arachnids. They have only two segmented body parts—a head and a thorax referred to as the cephalothorax. Centipedes and millipedes, classified as myriopoda, are extremely fast-moving critters, each have sets of multiple legs. Nightcrawlers—segmented, legless, earthbound creatures that squirm beneath garden soil or squiggle on along sidewalks on rainy days—have mobility based on manipulating their segmented sections. Each has at one time or another been referred to as "a bug," although nightcrawlers are not arthropods (they are classified under the order "haplotaxida").
There are instances where bugs are classified as insects: known as "true bugs" these arthropods have one
of antenna, three pair of legs, three segmented body parts, an exoskeleton, and one pair of wings. They too have stylets used for piercing and/or sucking; they can also use these mouthparts to bite.
Extension Activity. DVD Viewing.
by Dorling-Kindersley for Children