This theme explores Butterfly’s, Bumblebee’s, Caterpillars, Worms, Ladybugs, Spiders, Fly’s and all sorts of other creepy crawlies. I’m getting the jitters just thinking about it.
Theme word: Entomologist. (en-tuh-MAH-luh-jist) An Entomologist is someone who studies insects.
Fun Facts about bugs & insects:
- Insects account for around 83% of all animal life on the planet.
- Some scientists estimate that we have identified only 10% of the insect world so far.
- The Beetle family alone contains some 350,000 different known species.
- In the Amazon rainforest, there are millipedes that squirt cyanide. Yikes!
- In some areas of the earth there are metal-eating earthworms, who munch on toxic metals such as lead, arsenic and copper; elements that would be poisonous to humans. These worms reside in abandoned mines in England & Whales.
Mysteries in your backyard
Recently, one boy discovered a new bug in a park in London that his dad, who just happened to be an entomologist (someone who studies bugs), didn’t even know about! It turns out it was a newly discovered species. This just goes to show that there are still lots of new discoveries to be made. There might even be some hiding in your own backyard!
Related curriculum: Gather a whole bunch of small clear containers. A package of clear disposable cups works good; pass them out to kids as needed, then seal the top with a clear sandwich bag and a rubber band. Then let the kids loose in your backyard or outdoor area to collect as many different bug specimens as they can find. Bring them into the class to study: Count the legs, draw them, or study their behavior. Let the kids create their own name for each specimen. If you are working with an older age group, let them search the internet to try and identify each species. Who knows what you might discover! Ste the bugs loose again as you definitively each one (assuming they are still alive).
Whose in charge here? It’s the bugs!
We like to think of this world as ours, but it actually belongs to the bugs. Throughout all ages, from the dinosaurs to the age of humans, insects have dominated the planet and vastly outnumbered other forms of life. It’s the insects’ world, we just live in it!
The world’s strongest bug
Scientists have put insects through rigorous testing in order to find out which one is the strongest. The answer? Onthophagus Taurus, a type of dung beetle. Males of the species are capable of pulling up to 1,141 times their own body weight. To put this in perspective, that would be like you pulling around 1,141 of your friends, or about as many kids as would fill up several average size elementary
Related activity: Using pillow cases or a large sheet for children to sit on, let kids test their own strength to see if they can pull even one or two of their classmates around. This should give them a better appreciation of the dung beetle’s strength!
Most insects hatch from eggs or larvae and must fend for themselves from the very beginning. Yet not all insects abandon their young. Dung beetles roll up little dung balls for their babies. Some roaches carry their newborn nymphs on their backs. And striped bark scorpions have their babies climb up onto the mother’s back and then ride her like a school bus until the first molt when she sheds her outer covering.