Create Your Own Insect

Contributor
Discovery Science/Siemens Science Day
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Activity , Lesson/Lesson Plan
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

Students learn about insect body structures and their functions through print materials and a video, and then design their own insect to demonstrate understanding of essential life processes.

Intended Audience

Educator and learner
Educational Level
  • Grade 5
  • Grade 4
  • Grade 3
  • Upper Elementary
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access with user action - The right to view and/or download material without financial barriers but users are required to register or experience some other low-barrier to use.

Performance Expectations

4-LS1-1 Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.

Clarification Statement: Examples of structures could include thorns, stems, roots, colored petals, heart, stomach, lung, brain, and skin.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to macroscopic structures within plant and animal systems.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this performance expectation, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Students should begin to make a distinction between argumentation and explanation at this level. This activity can provide the teacher an opportunity to address this distinction. Additional information and links can be found here on this topic - http://stemteachingtools.org/brief/1

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Have students write about how the function of their insect's structures support its survivability to develop stronger argumentation before sharing verbally. Encourage students to develop and use their models as a tool to demonstrate structure function. Encourage students to identify familiar insects with similar structures and functions to support their argument. Extensions could include designing body structures/behaviors for functions other than those identified in the activity.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
This activity considers a number of structures as examples and relates them to their functions. It also refers to behaviors (e.g. burrowing, bloodsucking) in addition to structures as means to improve survivability. It is encouraged that teachers be explicit about the relationship of structure to function during explanation and encourage their students to do so as well.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource was not designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
To help students develop an understanding of the concept of substructures, the teacher could emphasize that structures can be made up of substructures (e.g the head is made up of several major substructures - antennae, eyes, mouthparts). As these substructures form a system connections between the "Structure and Function" and "Systems" crosscutting concepts can be realized.

This resource was not designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Opportunities for students to identify structures and their functions explored in this activity are part of a larger whole are not included in the lesson but necessary to meet the cross cutting concept. Such explorations may include observable body systems of insects and/or other organisms.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This lesson has strong potential for three dimensional learning but requires teacher modifications and explicit attention to the practices and cross cutting concepts. A low quality video is available as an introduction to the three insect body parts, but teachers could also begin the activity by presenting better quality video that shows students specialized insect parts in action or allow them to observe actual insects, if possible. Students could also begin the activity by directly experiencing the effectiveness of different insect mouth structure analogues and their compatibility with different foods in the activity found here: http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/3788?ref=search . Students construct an argument (in the form of a model) to relate external insect structures to their functions. It could be made stronger by extending the lesson and connecting more explicitly with the DCI and CCC. Students could be asked to identify the structures that are common to each of the insects, thereby establishing a pattern.

  • Instructional Supports: This activity provides a suggestion of an extension activity but lacks differentiation and support for learners struggling with the concepts. Since students are working in twos or threes, grouping choices by the teacher can support some learner's needs. Several links to sources are provided, but teachers are asked to conduct background research and find pictures on their own.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: Pre-assessment is limited to whole class KWL, though a quick informal assessment could aid in grouping students. Groups of 2-3 plan and design prior to the teacher providing materials, and some type of form or checklist would be beneficial to facilitate this task for teacher and student. Students create a model that can be used to assess understanding of the PE. They engage in a group share-out and return to revise a KWL at the end of the activity. A rubric providing feedback to the student on the share-out and the final product would also be useful.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: Other than watching a short video, there is no use of technology. The activity could be extended by including a research phase using online resources for all students, or as a support or extension for differentiation purposes.