The Strongest One Story and Insects

We finished the Literature Story The Strongest One from our Reading Streets Language Arts. I loved it. It was a wonderful springboard to teaching the kids about all sorts of insects!

We did a Ladybug Lifecycle, above, and everybody did Insect Reports too, after we read The Strongest One from Reading Streets Literature Series.  A Wicki I found that had some great activities for my kids is HERE at okaloosaschools.

Here is my cute granddaughter swimming with me at Cowabunga Bay in September and she not only found a caterpillar (top pic) but a minute later she found a baby grasshopper! It was so cute I just HAD to include it! She’s a cutie! 

 The Ladybug Life Cycles above we made into a flap book where we wrote about the stages of a ladybug’s life underneath the illustration and tissue paper art we made. Here  is a ladybug printable lifecycle they glued underneath the flaps. Then we drew ruler lines on the inside flap and wrote about the stages.  Then we topped each twisted brown twig and leaf from tissue paper with a piece of rice (egg) or macaroni (larva and pupa).

My sample of the Ladybug Life Cycle. (small macaroni and shell macaroni- if you do a butterfly life cycle use the butterfly looking macaroni for the final stage). Some years I have bought live ladybugs from Home Depot for $7.00. But it was too late. If you do this activity in the late spring they sometimes have them. The kids loved watching them in my Butterfly Keeper.

Kids LOVE non fiction. And for our library time we each checked out a book on a favorite insect and did INSECT ART and REPORTS.  

 We got into cooperative groups according to which insect we wanted to research and we looked in our books and took down facts. We borrowed facts from each other’s books too. Then we watched a film about insects and took some notes individually. I also listed facts on butcher paper for each insect cooperative group.

Here are some of the Cooperative Group’s posters….everybody added facts to the posters of Ants, Grasshoppers, Dragonflies and Fireflies, Beetles and Ladybugs, and Honeybees/Wasps/Yellowjackets.  

The kids added facts to the butcher papers I had illustrated, and they added facts to their own sloppy copy newsprint lined papers. Then I edited them all. The next day we rewrote them on the insect paper.

Some of the insect books we read….and we watched a Magic School Bus Ants in it’s Pants video too. 
We had honeybees, dragonflies, grasshoppers, ants and ladybugs. 
Insect Card Game at one of the centers for the week.  

 I had a lot of information on grasshoppers, ladybugs, bees and ants and some on dragonflies. The only thing I told them is not to choose butterflies because we would do those in the spring.

Ant report after we read the story THE STRONGEST ONE (about ants of course!) We also read the story

The Pocket chart had a few cute poems in them for the week.

They weren’t as popular as the microscope though.

The kids did a really nice job on their insect reports. I loved them all….I especially loved the illustrations. I can’t help myself! I’m an art minor!  What are you gonna do, ya know? 

K brought in this cool necklace with a real bug! Everybody thought it was pretty incredible! 

Wouldn’t YOU love a BUG NECKLACE TOO? Hmmmm?  
More books we read.some kids brought insect books from home too. Ant Cities was another popular book we read 

Another center game. How many words can you make out of the words grasshopper, dragonfly and butterfly? 
Scholastic News Science Spin we read to get us started on ladybugs. 
Here the kids are making their life cycle flap books. 
You can see the pictures of the lifecycle we glued underneath the tops and then we made ruler lines on the lower part to write about the stages. 
Ladybug Life Cycles Flap Books. 
Finished Ladybug Life Cycle. Look at that proud grin!!
Cute Dragonfly picture and report….
One center were these plastic insects with viewers and some metamorphosis slides under a microscope. 

The kids loved to look at these bug models under the viewers.

It is a very popular Insect Center….My SCIENCE CENTER has insect books, write and wipe off activities and these insects with viewers. It also includes the microscope with slides of insects morphing. 
Grasshopper report was really interesting! After they finished their final copies of their reports they got white art paper and traced or did a freehand drawing of their insect. I got lots of good simple drawings HERE at Enchanted Learning. I copied off some of their reports too for kids to glean facts from. Especially if they had chosen something like earwigs or termites!! 
Our finished bulletin board on all the insects we studied. All week we read weekly readers, literature books and non-fiction insect books and stories for background knowledge. 
We made life cycles and did crossword puzzles too. HERE at bogglesworld are some insect worksheets we used.
When we were all done most kids agreed that insects were pretty cool creatures. I had a few bug boxes I had gotten from the dollar store a few years ago and the kids checked them out at recess and found all kinds of bugs in the grass. It was a living museum for a week!  Bugs are good critters. 

The Stages of a Ladybug’s Life

Books:  The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle
Five Little Ladybugs by melanie Gerth
Are You a Ladybug? by Judy Allen Tudor

I love Eric Carle books. One way I love to introduce telling time by 5 minute increments is using the book “The Grouchy Ladybug”.  It has clocks on every page and they have incremental times listed.  It’s a good springboard for telling time.
We read the book and then we make a ladybug clock. I just found a basic clock pattern and copy it off on red construction paper. Then I add a half circle shaped, small, black, head and have the kids give it a face with white crayon. Then we add 6 black legs and we accordian fold them so it looks kind of funny. Here are our ladybug clocks.

Very Grouchy Ladybug Clocks
Then we read books on Ladybug Lifecycles and I also have a few Weekly Readers/Scholastic News that I save if they have any Science in them.  I also save the Science Spin magazine if they are good ones.


“Five Little Ladybugs”

Five little ladybugs climbing up a door, One flew away and then there were four.

Four little ladybugs sitting on a tree, One flew away and then there were three.

Three little ladybugs landing on a shoe, One flew away and then there were two.

Two little ladybugs looking for some fun, One flew away and then there was one.

One little ladybug sitting in the sun, She flew away and then there were none.

MUSIC: I found a cute song called Ladybug in my Soda on the website K-8 Kidstunes and got a copy for 99 cents in an MP3 download. The link is HERE but you do have to sign up a “kid” to get the cheap version. I have kids and grandkids so it’s easy now that I have signed up. It’s a funny song with a real catchy beat and easy to learn.

Peter is making his Grouchy Ladybug Clock


A fun printable with black dots on individual ladybugs to print out can be found HERE
at A Kids Math. You can print off a dozen of these to place in a center with a key. Kids write down their answers on an answer sheet and then check with the key.

We kept these in our desks for a week and used them to practice telling time….

Here is a link for a telling time worksheet HERE at ABC teach.

Andrew is proud of his cool clock!

Every day for a few weeks call out different times and have them put the hands on their clocks. Be sure to also introduce half past, quarter past, quarter till. These are really difficult concepts for young children to get so I introduce it in first grade. I also have a magnetic clock I keep on my white board. I draw 4 lines on the fact to “cut” the clock into “quarters” or fourths. I point out that 3 and 9 are the quarter past and quarter till numbers.

Fun Game: Find a partner and use both of your ladybug clocks. Decide to do “o’clock” or “thirty” for doing elapsed time. Then decide how many hours difference there is going to be and make up a sentence. Example:  3:00 is 2 hours later than 1:00. 12:30 is 3 hours later than 9:30 etc. Elapsed time is another very hard concept for young kids to get. This is higher level but some of your high kids will get it and you will be differentiating for those who can do it.

We played this Bug Bingo and then I left it out for a center game….great for insect vocabulary development!

The next week after doing our life cycle books we painted our own ladybug beetles!
Attach a poem or a Sodoku math to the back for fun!
Another cute poem I found online…Use it on the back of your clocks!

SCIENCE: Do a Life Cycle of a Ladybug wheel on a paper plate divided with a criss cross. The link can be found at A Kids Heart HERE. Color the life cycle and then glue it down. OR….Write the 4 steps to the life cycle of a Ladybug. We decided to do a 4 flap book and used macaroni, dried beans and rice for the stages.

Here is the top of our flip book. We folded it into 4, cut just the top layer.

         Another fun center I do is I have 2 classroom microscopes and insect slides. I put those out with a bin full of dollar store plastic insects and 4 little magnifying glass viewers and insect books. I took a picture on my classroom camera and then left it in the classroom! I’ll post pics of that next week too. The kids LOVE LOVE LOVE this center. I’ve collected about 2 dozen insect books so I put a new batch out each week and we switch from ants, to ladybugs and dragonflies, and next week is grasshoppers and caterpillars.               

WRITING: I love to do a minibook describing the life cycle of a ladybug.  I use yellow construction paper and give each student one large piece I have folded in half the long way. Then fold that in half 2 more times to make the 4 folds. Then I cut 4 slits evenly in just the top half of my paper. It will give you 4 pages to lift up and write.

Here is the 4 stages (art from Enchanted Learning) writing from a first grader!
Then we do our own Ladybug Life Cycle Flap Books. Inside the top flap we paste a picture of the life cycle stages. On the bottom of the inside flap we draw pencil lines with a ruler and write 2 sentences depicting what is happening in the stage in the picture above the writing.  A link for the clip art stages is at Enchanted Learning  HERE for Ladybug Lifecycles. They always turn out really cute. Don’t forget to watch the utube video before doing the writing.

Cute painted ladybugs with their chenille stem antennae!
Completed Flip Book. Oops, he forgot to color the pupa macaroni!

 On the tops I use brown and green crepe paper to make twigs and leaves. Then I add macaroni for the life cycle. A few pieces of rice for the eggs, then a kidney bean for the larvae worm stage. Then a piece of shell macaroni for the cocoon stage. Have the kids color the macaroni with markers.  And finally a clip art ladybug to color for the final adult beetle stage. I found another lip art ladybug I liked for the cover and I typed up the 4 words of the stages. Then I copied the Enchanted Learning page with these additions. That’s the life cycle!
Then we watched the life cycle utube video from the top of my post.
A fun website that has lots of ladybug facts is called Ladybug Lady and her link is HERE. She also has lots of good ideas for classroom teachers.

I got a larger one of these and 5 smaller ones. I’ve used the large one for larva.

Get some ladybugs from your local Home Depot or Lowes. I bought some individual butterfly garden holders from Oriental Trading a few years back and we put one on each table for kids to observe with hand lenses. It is fun to see how different their colorings and sizes are and to see them close up. They only last a few days though so I’d set them free in your garden after a day or so.

We traced small and large paper cups for the spots….

ART: Paint a ladybug on art paper. When dry use black markers to make the line down the middle and dots on his back were traced using the top circle and bottom circle of a dixie paper cup. Add 2 wiggly eyes. Paint yellow, orange and red. Wait for color to dry. Then add black painted spots. Dry and then Cut out. Add some black chenille stems with tape for the antennae and 1/2 inch by 6 inch legs (we accordian folded the legs)..  On the back type up this poem and read for a shared reading activity.

We read Scholastic News on Ladybug and Dragonfly Life Cycles and did a Venn Diagram comparing them.
Did you know they come in 3 colors? Red, orange and yellow!

Here is our finished Ladybug Life Cycle bulletin board!


Add a fun Sodoku to the back of your ladybug pictures or clocks!

I hope you have fun seeing what we have learned about LADYBUGS!