Investigating Pill Bug Structures

Contributor
Emily Morgan and Karen Ansberry
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
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

This 5-E lesson plan encourages students to observe pill bug behavior during a checkpoint lab and associate the behaviors with pill bug sense receptors.  After observing the pill bugs, students design investigations to answer their own questions about pill bug behaviors.

Intended Audience

Educator
Educational Level
  • Early Elementary
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Available by subscription - The right to view and/or download material, often for a set period of time, by way of a financial agreement between rights holders and authorized users.

Performance Expectations

1-LS1-1 Use materials to design a solution to a human problem by mimicking how plants and/or animals use their external parts to help them survive, grow, and meet their needs.

Clarification Statement: Examples of human problems that can be solved by mimicking plant or animal solutions could include designing clothing or equipment to protect bicyclists by mimicking turtle shells, acorn shells, and animal scales; stabilizing structures by mimicking animal tails and roots on plants; keeping out intruders by mimicking thorns on branches and animal quills; and, detecting intruders by mimicking eyes and ears.

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Students will design a solution to a human problem by mimicking the ability of a pill bug to roll up into a ball.

K-2-ETS1-2 Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem.

Clarification Statement: none

Assessment Boundary: none

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Students will design their own investigation based on the question they created about pill bugs. Encourage students to create a journal or illustrate throughout their investigation for documentation. You can also encourage students to create a model for a final product based on what they learned throughout their investigation.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
After reading the text, Pill Bugs, by Monica Hughes, students will create their own questions about pill bug behavior and design investigations to answer their questions. Students can create a model or drawing of a pill bug that demonstrates how it receives information from its senses and responds in different ways. The article includes a reference chart on pill bugs behavior and their reason (i.e. moving its antennae around to sense its surroundings) that can be utilized to help generate students' questions, investigations, and/or models.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

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

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Students can create a sketch of a device that mimics a pill bug's ability to roll up into a ball and explain how the parts of the device allow it to work.

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

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
Students will observe pill bug behaviors, explain reasons for these behaviors, and identify the body parts that help the bugs sense their surroundings and behave the way they do.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Identify pill bug structures and recognize their functions. Explain how a device that mimics a pill bug has structures that aid its functions.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This lesson addresses all three dimensions of learning as defined by the NGSS. This lesson meets the performance expectation for first grade, disciplinary core idea, and K-2 engineering design by having students design a solution to a human problem by mimicking the ability of a pill bug to roll up into a ball and explain how the parts of the device allow it to work. Similar research has been conducted by scientists in South Korea which led to the invention of a "firefighting robot".

  • Instructional Supports: This resource includes a pill bug observation worksheet and an inquiry place think sheet which can be accessed using the following link: http://www.nsta.org/elementaryschool/connections.aspx#1603 . Students can use the observation worksheet to draw a picture of their pill bug; provide a description; collect data every ten seconds for one minute on their pill bug's movement; and explore what happens when they interact with their pill bug. The inquiry place think sheet can be used to help students plan their testable question. This resource also includes a literature connection and suggested questions.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: This lesson provides many methods to monitor students progress such as the student worksheets, completing a class t-chart on behaviors and reasons, a diagram (illustration and labeling task), and a summative assessment activity is suggested (having students complete poster about their findings). Despite all of these resources a rubric is not provided. I would highly suggest that the teacher creates a rubric, checklist, or take anecdotal notes to assess their students.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: This lesson provides a list of websites to further explore concepts discussed in this lesson. With the exception of the Youtube video link the other websites are not developmentally appropriate for primary students. Nonetheless, the remaining links are beneficial in providing background information for the teacher on how pill bugs have been used as a model to create firefighting robots.