How to Build An Insect
Doing hands-on projects after reading a book is more than just a fun activity. It helps readers process and remember what they read. It is an important way to extend learning, especially for visual and kinesthetic learners. Making things also develops fine motor skills critical for many adult careers. Plus, making insects puts the A in STEAM. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s build an insect!
Suggested Next Generation Science Standards:
- 1-LS1-1: use materials to solve a human problem by mimicking how animals use their external parts.
- K-ESS3-1 Earth and Human Activity: Use a model to demonstrate needs of different plants and animals.
Insect Super Abilities:
You can make insect models out of almost anything. For suggestions how to tie the art materials you use back to the insects themselves, check out this overview for educators:
Humans aren’t the only ones who can make paper. In fact, insects did it first.
- Desert Botanical Garden Build an Insect worksheet
- My Insect Masterpiece Activity Work
- Lady Beetle Life Cycle Activity – could be used for mobile or diorama
- Moth Coloring Book PDF
For a fast, easy project with young children, consider craft foam shapes (instructions at Growing with Science)
Origami can help develop spatial relations skills critical for many STEM fields.
- Start paper folding with some fun insect-themed snowflakes. Instructions at Dragonfly Woman blog
- A more complex milkweed bug from Prairie Ecologist
Video from that post. Note: The origami scissors, tape, and crayons part is included for humor.
2. Insect-themed snacks
Did you know that about a third of the fruits and vegetables we eat are the direct result of pollination by insects? Celebrate by creating insect-themed snacks.
3. Wax/wax resist painting
In addition to making honey, honey bees also produce wax. Although it is possible to build an insect model or make a candle with wax, a simpler way to pay tribute to the bees’ ability to make wax is to do a resist painting.
- Watercolor paints and a paintbrush
- Watercolor or heavy paper
- Insect photographs or illustrations (optional)
Draw the outline of an insect using crayons (or oil pastels). You can use different colors. Fill in as much or as little as you like. You can also have your insect be part of a scene, perhaps from the book. Then use the watercolors to fill in and around the insect as shown for the leaves in the video below. Watch how the water flows off the areas covered with oil pastels. Add the salt to the outside to create an interesting effect.
For older students:
Blick has a fun idea for a steampunk insect craft that uses air dry clay as the base/body.
You can down the lesson plan at the Blick website.
Looking for information about children’s books, particularly nonfiction picture books? Try Roberta’s specialized blogs and websites:
Other Blogs about STEM/Nonfiction Books for Kids:
Celebrate Science blog by award-winning science author Melissa Stewart
Archimedes Notebook by Sue Heavenrich, great children’s books and science/nature activity suggestions
STEM Friday blog hosted by Anastasia Suen
STEM Tuesday by the Mixed-up Files, a group of STEM Middle Grade authors
STEAMTeamBooks is a list of STEAM themed books coming out that year by an awesome group of authors