Lesson Plan: Wigglers, Tumblers, & Bloodsuckers

Length of sessions:
  • Three 30 minute sessions
  • Two 45 minute sessions

Introduction Activity (45 minute session)

Read Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears by Verna Aardema. Discuss what senses are used by the animals in the story. Which sense is used when the animals first meet each other? How is the story passed on from one animal to another? Extend discussion to compare what the students know about mosquitoes and the information about mosquitoes in the story. Introduce the students to the different life stages of the mosquitoes using the cards. Discuss how the larvae and pupae live in the water, while adults fly and tell about the three stages in a mosquito's life. With the aquatic container, have students look for the larvae, pupae, and adults. Talk about what each stage eats (larvae eat things in the water we can't see (bacteria), pupae don't eat, both male and female adults eat sweet juices in flowers (nectar) and females eat blood). As a class, count the number of adult mosquitoes in the container. Place one picture of the adult mosquito for each one counted (from Mosquito Cards Activity Sheet) on a chart with days of the week. Continue counting the number of the adults each day and add to the chart.

Activity 1 (45 minute session)

Position a light so that it shines on part of the mosquitoes' container but leaves an obvious darker "corner." All the larvae will move away from the light. Have students predict why the larvae are moving, watch where they are going and predict why they are going there? Teacher records predictions on butcher paper. Larvae like to hide in dark places. What sense do the students think the mosquitoes are using to sense the light? If you have a magnifying glass, set up small containers so the students can see the eyes on the mosquito larvae. Do the pupae have eyes? At least five minutes after light experiment, ask one child to move a hand over the main container. Ask the student to sneak up on the container and pass a hand over it, preferably between the light and the container so a shadow is cast. The larvae and pupae will dive to the bottom of the container. Brainstorm about why they dove. (Why do you think the larvae hide or get away from the movement?) Mosquito larvae respond to movements of a potential predator by diving to the bottom of the pond where they would be likely to hide under a leaf. Begin to teach the "Mosquito Song." Sing the song each day before, after or during working with the mosquitoes. Incorporate the hand and body movements along the way.

Activity 2 (30 minute session)

Review what adult mosquitoes eat. Have a child place a hand on the side of the container above the water line and keep it in one place for a few minutes. The females will fly over to the hand. Brainstorm what the mosquito is sensing. Does the mosquito see your hand? (Mosquitoes sense the heat of the student's hand.) Teach "Mosquito Song II." Do not disturb the container with the mosquitoes for five minutes. Then ask a child to quietly breathe into the container. The mosquitoes will start flying. Brainstorm about why the mosquitoes start to fly (they are responding to CO2 in the breath—our breath contains gases that the mosquitoes sense). Keep larvae and pupae in a screened container when not being used. Larvae and pupae can develop into adults very quickly.

Activity 3 (30 minute session)

Review and discuss what senses the students saw the mosquitoes use in the experiments. What senses did the students use in the experiments with the mosquitoes? Which of these senses do you use to find food? Sight and smell are important for both mosquitoes and children. For the smelling activityplace the foods represented on the cards inside a brown paper bag with small holes. Set up a table with 2 bags for each item, the smelling bags and another empty bag to put their voting cards in. After the students smell a bag, they place a card with a picture of what they think they smelled in the collection bag. When the activity is set up, pass out the Voting Cards,. Explain what they are to do and how to vote. Students can color these while other students are doing the smelling activity. After the class has smelled everything, chart the results using the cards. Discuss the outcome of the smelling activity. How did the voting turn out?

Closure Activity (30 minute session)

Sing the verse to the "Smelling Song" and fill in the blanks.

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Center for Insect Science Education Outreach The University of Arizona
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