Paso Partners - Integrating Mathematics, Science, and Language: An Instructional Program Purchase a print copy of Paso Partners
Introduction Grade K Lessons Grade 1 Lessons Grade 2 Lessons Grade 3 Lessons Bibliography
Table of Contents
Lesson Overview
Teacher Background Information
Lesson Focus
Objective Grid
Lesson 1: Spiders! Scary or Nice?
Lesson 2: Spiders Have Special Characteristics
-Edible Spiders
-Spiders Have Eight Legs
-Who Am I?
-Ordering Sets and Numbers
Lesson 3: Spiders Catch Prey
Lesson 4: The Spider's Life Cycle
Lesson 5: Spiders Have Natural Enemies
Lesson 6: Spiders Live Everywhere
Lesson 7: Now We Know Spiders!
Spanish Language Translations

Spiders - Lesson 2: Spiders Have Special Characteristics

BIG IDEAS: Spiders are animals that look like insects but are not, because spiders have eight legs, two body parts and spinnerets. We can order numbers by using the idea of "one more than."

On this page
- Encountering the Idea
- Exploring the Idea
- Getting the Idea
- Organizing the Idea
- Closure and Assessment
- List of Activities for this Lesson

Whole Group Activities

  • Live or dead insects, or large pictures of insects (bees, ants, flies)
  • Live or dead spiders, or pictures of various types of spiders
  • Magnifying glasses
  • Copies of National Geographic featuring spiders
  • Books: Spiders are Animals by J. Holloway & C. Harper, A Look at Spiders by C. & B. Moon and La Araña Despistada by J. Wordman

Encountering the Idea

Read about spiders in Spiders Are Animals and A Look at Spiders; discuss the readings and brainstorm facts about spiders found in the reading. Ask: How are spiders special? What can we say about them? Let's observe them and see.

Exploring the Idea

At the Science Center, students use a magnifying glass to observe a spider's legs, eyes, and other body parts. They make a drawing of the spider's body parts that they observed.

Students specify characteristics: A Spider has _________________ (suggest characteristics such as legs, eggs, body parts ) They also write: A Spider does not have _________________ .

Students classify pictures or plastic toys as spider or not spiders.

Students complete Activity - Who Am I? and Activity - Edible Spiders.

Getting the Idea

After the students have had an opportunity to explore the idea, discuss the following:
    Many people believe that spiders are insects - they are not - they look like insects. There are two main features that distinguish spiders from insects - spiders have only two body parts and eight legs, whereas insects have three body parts and six legs. During this discussion, show pictures or show live spiders and insects to demonstrate the differences.

Students report on their observations of the spiders. They illustrate their report with drawings in their journals.

Organizing the Idea

At the Art Center:
    Students make paper-plate spiders with:
      large plate for abdomen
      small plate for cephalothorax
      strips of construction paper folded accordion style for legs.
At the Mathematics Center:
  1. Play Water Spider Race game (a spinner game with a die and a checkerboard). Students count the number of spaces that the spider can move, depending on the number that comes up on the die.
  2. Students predict the number that will come up on the die.
  3. Construct a set of "eight" spiders. Make thumbprint for abdomen, other fingerprints for cephalothorax and make legs with marker or crayons.

    Student's thumbprint Little finger print

  4. Students complete Activity - Ordering Sets and Numbers and Activity - Spiders Have Eight Legs. Place at the Manipulative Center - spider puzzles; board games related to spiders.
At the Music and Art Centers - songs on tapes or records of Little Miss Muffet and the Eensy Weensy Spider. Students draw, color, cut and paste four pictures depicting the sequence of each song while listening to the songs.

Closure and Assessment

  1. Students state reasons why spiders are grouped in specific categories, including what distinguishes a spider from an insect. These comments can be written on chart tablet and reviewed later by the whole group.
  2. Art Activity - paper - plate spider (shows two body parts and eight legs).
  3. Mathematics activity with sets of eight spiders.
Oral Assessment
  1. Why did you group the pictures/animals in this manner?
  2. Can you put the frog with the spiders? Why/Why not?
  3. How many fingers will you use to make a spider's body?
  4. How many legs will you draw on your spider?
  5. Tell me how a spider is different from an insect.
Performance Assessment
  1. Assess paper-plate spiders for student understanding.
  2. Assess completed sets of eight thumbprint spiders showing two body parts, eight legs-four on either side of the cephalothorax.
  3. Assess for accuracy drawing of spiders observed in the Science Center.
  4. Assess for understanding categories of spiders and non-spiders.

List of Activities for this Lesson

  1. Edible Spiders
  2. Spiders Have Eight Legs
  3. Who Am I?
  4. Ordering Sets and Numbers

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