Each year my first and second graders enjoy learning about spiders once fall hits. Spiders are everywhere and we like to learn about their world. We learn a ton of new things and really change our viewpoints about spiders.
We start our unit by sharing what we already know about spiders.
We learn how to draw a spider on black construction paper, which we fill in with white glue.
You will need to wait until the spiders dry completely before moving to making the backgrounds (It took 4 days for some of those BIG spiders to dry).
To make the rainbow background, we use chalk pastels. We draw lines with different colours covering the black paper. You can colour over the spider and wipe it clean after. After we use a tissue to smudge and blend the colours into the background to create a smokey effect. To finish it off, we use a white crayon (you could use a white oil pastel) to draw the spider’s web over the pastel background.
Everyone’s Spinning Spider art came out unique and colourful!
We learn about a spider’s life cycle by completing ‘The Life of a Spider” Storybook. I start the lesson by reading and discussing a non-fiction book about the life cycle. I have a huge list of valuable spider read aloud books in a post HERE.
We sit together at the carpet with our books and pencils ready to fill in words and draw pictures to represent the different stages of the cycle.
We learn about spider vocabulary and how to use a glossary. I give pairs of students a few words that they were to look up in the glossary of a non-fiction book about spiders. They write the definition on a word card and illustrate the meaning. To read more about how I teach vocabulary with theme words HERE.
After some practice reading and explaining their vocabulary word, students share their words with the class. This is a great way to have them learn new words, rather than just telling them, which doesn’t necessarily stick into memory.
Facts & Opinions about Spiders
To learn about the difference between facts and opinions, we play a game using our white boards together at the carpet. We first discuss what facts and opinions are and share some real world examples.
To play this game, I read a sentence about spiders aloud and they put down either ‘F’ or ‘O’ as their guess. They can keep track of their “score” and give themselves a point for each one they get correct. They share their answers as the game goes on. After the game, they work in pairs to cut out the same spider facts and opinions and sort them correctly on a sheet. I found that this was a great way to check student learning.
The Parts of a Spiders
We learn about the parts of a spider and their uses. We discuss the differences between spiders and insects (i.e. Insects have 6 legs, 3 body parts, wings).
I use this information to teach my students about the parts of a spider. We draw our own spiders with its many important parts, use rulers to create labels, write the parts down, and colour our spiders.
Spiders Can Have Are
Throughout the unit, we record the things we learn about spiders on our can, have, are chart. We read parts of the spider fact sheets and locate facts that would fit into one of the categories. We share those together.
As a culminating activity, we take the information we recorded on our can, have, are sheets, as well as the new info in our brains, and write our ideas into sentences. Some students write a paragraph with a beginning, middle, and end. I use these writing samples as an assessment for our report cards.
All of these lessons plus many more come from my All About Spiders pack. It is 140 pages and geared towards first through third grade (I used it in my 1/2 combined class). The activities lend themselves easily to differentiating and there is tons of variety for you to pick through!
You can get this spider unit above along with 15 other non-fiction & science units with similar activities in the Non-Fiction & Science Bundle for the Entire Year HERE.
Grab a spider freebie with a sample of the activities provided in the larger unit by clicking the image below!
Check out this list of must-have books to support your study of spiders.
What are your favorite spider activities for the classroom?
Original article and pictures take http://proudtobeprimary.com/all-about-spiders/ site