Lesson Plan: Building A Bug Bungalow

Length of sessions:
  • Up to two months
  • Two additional 20 minute sessions
  • Seven 30 minute sessions

Introduction Activity (30 minute session)

Read You'll Soon Grow Into Theirs, Titch by Pat Hutchins or Annie and the Old One by Miska Miles. Discuss the stories and how the students feel about being little. What do they think about growing bigger? What kind of things do they think will change for them when they grow bigger? Brainstorm about the different stages of growth they'll go through in their lives (i.e., baby, toddler, girl/boy, etc.). Teacher records on butcher paper. (Note: In facilitating the discussion be aware, some students may be sensitive about their height or size.) Ask the students what they know about how insects grow and record on butcher paper. Show the students a milkweed bug.

Activity 1(30 minute session)

Brainstorm: What can you measure about humans? How do we measure and record? Can you predict how bodies change? In the classroom have the students measure themselves (height and foot length) and record. As homework, have the students measure the people at home.

Activity 2(30 minute session)

Read Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. Review and discuss life stages in the story. Hypothesize what the life stages of the milkweed bug might be. How can we test our theory? (Same or different from humans.) Expanding on the information from what the students know, establish the differences between incomplete metamorphosis vs. complete metamorphosis include molting and instars. Which kind of metamorphosis is closest to how humans grow?

Activity 3(20 minute session)

Suggest creating a milkweed bug bungalow in the classroom to observe and record information about how the bugs grow and develop. Brainstorm things to consider in keeping insects in classroom: caring, food, water, shelter, space. Review respect for other living things and environment with students. Review husbandry and technical instructions with students.

Activity 4(30 minute session)

To set-up the bug bungalows: give each student a cup and a label. Have them write their name on the label and place it on the cup. Give them each a tube with a cotton plug, and a couple of seeds to place in the cup. Give each student either one milkweed bug egg or a young milkweed bug (one or two days out of the egg) for his/her cup.

Activity 5(20 minute session)

Ask the students to tell you once more how they'll care for the milkweed bug. Have them observe and record the duration of each instar. Observe what happens to molted skin. Have them write and draw observations in a journal over a four to six week period. Encourage them to draw several different stages in sequence from egg to adult using their bungalow and the group container.

Use the group container of milkweed bugs to observe group behavior, feeding, mating, and molting behaviors. Have the students record their observations in their journals. Here are a few suggestions to structure the observations and recording to your classroom. Students work in pairs with a "Bug Buddy" to do observations during free time. Observations can be taken daily, weekly or as needed. Use the two different record sheets to facilitate student's observations or as guides for creating one. Begin to teach "Everything Grows" to the students. Sing the song throughout the following weeks of observations.

Activity 6(30 minute session)

After the observation period, in a class discussion, compare the growth and development of milkweed bug with growth and development of humans (fetus inside mom, infant, baby, toddler, child, teenager, adult). How is it the same? How is it different? Teacher records on butcher paper. Have the students measure their heights and foot lengths to compare with measurements from earlier in the year.

Closure Activity(Two 30 minute sessions)

Have the students pull together information about milkweed bugs and human growth in their journals and prepare a chart as a class. (See Growth Chart Activity Sheet as a guide). Invite another class to see the milkweed bugs, charts and to hear a performance of the song.

Lesson Intro Set-up Lesson Plans Additions
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Center for Insect Science Education Outreach The University of Arizona
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