ACTIVITY in Interdisciplinary. Last updated April 12, 2022.
In this activity, students will first work in small groups on a card sort aimed to activate their prior knowledge about insects and attempt to match the name of several common insects with a corresponding scientific fact. Students will then watch a short video while answering several questions to discover more about the field of entomology.
Middle and Elementary School
By the end of this activity, students should be able to:
- Explain the role of an Entomologist.
- Match various types of insects with a corresponding fact.
- Describe the characteristics of an insect.
This activity supports students’ understanding of:
- Environmental Chemistry
Teacher Preparation: 10 minutes
Lesson: 30-40 minutes
- Copy of the card sort document (cut and randomized for each group)
- Ziplock bags
- Internet access for video
- No specific safety precautions need to be observed for this activity.
- This activity was created as part of the 2022 Chemists Celebrate Earth Week (CCEW) public awareness campaign. CCEW is celebrated the week of April 17–23, 2022 with the theme, “The Buzz About Bugs: Insect Chemistry.” Through this theme, students, teachers and all those interested are encouraged to explore the many ways insects in nature can help us (promote biodiversity, pollinate fruits and vegetables, produce honey and silk, etc.) or bug us (give us itchy bites, spread disease, etc.), and the exciting chemistry at play in the lives of insects.
- For years, chemists have been promoting a better world through recyclable plastics, cleaner-burning fuels, phosphate-free detergents, environmental monitoring, and green chemistry initiatives. To promote the positive role that chemistry plays in the world, ACS established the Chemists Celebrate Earth Week (CCEW) public awareness campaign. During CCEW, ACS members and chemistry enthusiasts celebrate by coordinating events and communicating the importance of chemistry. Read more about CCEW.
- This activity was created to give students the opportunity to learn about the field of entomology. Students may not realize it, but they likely already have prior knowledge about many types of insects. In an effort to activate their prior knowledge students should first complete the card sorting/matching activity:
- Teachers should prepare this activity by photocopying the card sort handout and cutting out the individual cards. There are 12 insects and 12 corresponding scientific facts. The cards are originally organized as an answer key, so as they are cut out, they should be randomized. It would be helpful to place the 24 cards in a ziplock bag for each group.
- It’s suggested that the card sort be completed in small groups of 2-3 students.
- Teachers may want to use a time limit for the card sort, or turn it into a competition between groups!
- Following the card sort, teachers should review the correct answers with students.
- Next, show students the short video Insects for Kids (~10 minutes) from Learn Bright. During the video, the students should record a definition to four terms that are provided on the student handout. It may be helpful to also review the questions that are on the student handout prior to starting the video, so students can keep them in mind as they watch the video.
- An Answer Key document has been provided for teacher reference.
- A Reference document has also been provided—this document captures the web links that we used to compile the scientific facts for the card sort.
- Depending on the class time available teachers may want to extend this short activity and give students the opportunity to research the insect that was identified in question 3 on the student handout. This could become a small research project, or students could become “expert” entomologists on a particular insect of choice.
For the Student
You will watch a short video about insects. While you watch, write a sentence about each of the following vocabulary words in the table below that are discussed in the video:
After watching the video, answer the following three questions:
- List 3 new things that you learned from the video or the card sort activity:
- List 2 questions that you would ask an entomologist:
- If you were asked to become an expert on 1 insect, which insect would you pick? Explain why!