In another in our series of STEM story times, let's explore insect-themed books, learning centers, and activities.
First I read Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert.
The children had a blast looking for insects in the illustrations. They were fully engaged in the story.
Check out our growing list of butterfly and moth books for more options.
After reading and discussing, they visited the STEM Stations.
STEM Activity Station 1. Insect Versus Not Insect
Prepare a sign or explain:
Insects have three body parts, six legs, and two antennae.
- plastic insect models
- plastic spiders, scorpions, centipedes etc. (often cheap and available at party stores around Halloween)
Have the children sort insect from non-insect.
Also presented live earthworms, sowbugs, and snails.
The rest of the stations I arranged roughly by insect order (groups).
STEM Activity Station 2. Chirp like a Cricket
- Craft sticks
- Small plastic combs
- Eric Carle's The Very Quiet Cricket board book (version that chirps when last page is opened)
- Photographs of crickets
- Cricket life cycle image (optional)
Crickets chirp by rubbing their wings together. Rub a craft stick across the comb to make a sound.
Although I didn't get any for this day, live crickets are available in many pet supply stores. They are easy to care for (see previous post).
STEM Activity Station 3: Lady Beetles
- Lady beetle photographs and/or models
- Lady beetle anatomy diagram (available in previous post).
- Photographs of aphids
- Diagrams of lady beetle life cycles
- Model of lady beetle life cycle (optional)
STEM Activity Station 4: Ants, Bees and Wasps
- Photographs and illustrations of ants, bees, and wasps
- Board books
- Models of honey bee comb
- Ant life cycle diagram (Ask a Biologist)
- Honey bee life stages diagrams
STEM Activity Station 5: Cicadas
- Cicada exoskeletons (collect and save during summer)
- Cicada models
- Cicada life cycle diagram (Super Coloring has an amazing assortment of realistic life cycle diagrams)
- Clicker to replicate cicada buzzing
STEM Activity Station 6: Butterfly and moth life cycles
- Butterfly life cycle models and illustrations
- Silkworm cocoons (raised previously and saved)
- Silkworm eggs (raised previously and saved)
- Silkworm life cycle diagrams (also from Super Coloring)
Also provided assorted crafts and crayon-rubbing templates.
Note: At this age the templates slid around too much. Consider taping them down with painter's tape to help hold in place.
Also, fingerprint insects are fun, but I didn't have any washable ink stamp pads at home. Need to pick up some for next time.
We finished with We Dig Worms by Kevin McCloskey, which is what the children chose.
Soon they were counting all the earthworms on each page. It was a great way to end the class.
Visit our Pinterest Board for more insect science activity and craft ideas.