Spiders - Lesson 5: Spiders Have Natural Enemies
On this page
- Encountering the Idea
- Exploring the Idea
- Getting the Idea
- Organizing the Idea
- Closure and Assessment
- List of Activities for this Lesson
BIG IDEAS:Spiders protect themselves from their natural enemies.
A spider's web makes many paths.
Whole Group Work
- Books: Spiders by A. L. Hopf and The Lady and the Spider by F. McNulty
- An army camouflage jacket and/or pants (green and gray), or
- Leopard-spotted material (brown/yellow) to make dresses, skirts
- Pictures taped on cards of spider enemies and animals that are not enemies
- Frame sentences written on a poster board that students can see:
- A _____________ would be afraid of a spider, but a spider would not be afraid of
a _____________ .
Show the army camouflage jacket and pants to the students. Ask the students to
describe them. Ask the students, "Who wears these kinds of clothes?" Yes,
soldiers wear them. Why do you think the soldiers wear clothes colored with these
colors and spots? If soldiers are fighting in the jungle, would they be harder to
see if they wear these clothes? Why? Yes, because they are the same color as the
jungle, and the soldier would blend into the trees and leaves.
What about the tiger's or leopard's spots? What color are they? Yes, black and
brown and yellow. Why do you think that tigers and leopards have developed these
spots? Yes, to make them blend with their habitat, so their prey won't see them
and get away. Yes, they want to hide from the prey and also from their enemies.
Read Spiders. Focus on spiders' enemies and spiders' defense mechanisms. Open a
discussion on what students would do if they saw a spider on their bed, or shoe,
or simply crawling across the floor. Would they kill it or not? Say that spiders
have to be careful of all types of animals including humans. Why?
Ask the students to name different animals and write animal names on a poster
board. Students predict how different animals would react to spiders. Would an
elephant be afraid of a spider? Why? Would a spider be afraid of an elephant?
Read The Lady and the Spider. Discuss spiders' defense mechanisms, including
At the Science Center, the students complete
At the Mathematics Center, the students
- Activity - Spiders Can Defend Themselves
- Activity - Spider Enemies.
At the Writing Center:
- sort pictures of spiders and their enemies
- sort pictures of animals that are enemies and those that are not.
- complete Activity - Spider Path
- play a game.
- Game: two players per card; one die for each pair of students; one playing
board, as below.
- Rules: one student is the spider (uses the picture of a spider to move
across the playing board), one student is an enemy (uses picture card of a
spider's natural enemy).
- Object of game: "Spider" throws the die and moves that number of spaces.
"The enemy" throws the die next to try to catch the spider. The players begin
moving at Start, move to the right following the arrows on the playing board,
then up and on to the Finish Line. If spider reaches the Finish Line, he/she is
safe. If an enemy catches up to spider by landing on the spider's square, then
the spider is dead. The students take turns being the spider and the enemy. They
keep a tally mark to convert to a number to see who wins.
At the Art Center - Camouflage Diorama.
- Students name two or more natural enemies of a spider. Write enemies'
names in student journal; illustrate how enemies can harm the spider.
Write why spiders should not be killed, or
- students draw and/or write in their journals three ways that spiders defend
Students draw a garden scene with different-colored plants, flowers, leaves,
branches, and other things they like. They place at least three different spiders
in their webs in the garden. They draw at least 2 spider enemies in the garden.
They color the spiders to blend with the environment.
- List the dangers the spider encountered in The Lady and the Spider on a
chalk board. Discuss how each of the barriers was removed.
- Students discuss and share information on spiders found in Activity -
Spiders Can Defend Themselves.
- Spiders use their webs to catch their prey and to defend themselves. How do
they use their webs to defend themselves? Look at a web under a magnifying glass.
You can see that there are sticky drops of silk on some of the strings of the
web, but not all. The spider knows how to travel on the web so that she doesn't
get stuck; this way she can move very fast along the web and escape.
- Discuss weird disguises with the students.
A white spider does not build a web to catch its prey. She relies on her
camouflage. The white spider lives on a flower whose petals are completely white.
The spider's color is also white. When a bee stops on the flower petal to pick up
pollen to make honey, the bee cannot see the spider that looks like a flower
petal. The spider springs, jumps on the bee and catches it for food.
One spider is a deceiver. The spider pretends to be an insect. You know that
spiders have eight legs, but an insect has only six legs. How many more legs does
a spider have than an insect? Yes, two more. This deceiving spider raises her two
front legs and pretends they are antennae, like the spider's feelers. Since many
insects cannot see very well, to them the spider pretending to be an insect has
only six legs. The insect is fooled, and the spider eats it.
- At the Writing Center, the students complete frame sentences:
- A ________________ would be afraid of a spider, but a spider would not be afraid
of a ________________ .
- Students illustrate the list of ways that spiders defend themselves.
Applying the Idea
Students draw themselves as a spider encountering an enemy and draw what they
would do to survive.
Ask the students to observe the spiders in their vivarium to see if spiders use a
sense of smell to detect their prey or their enemies.
- Why did you sort the pictures in this manner?
- Tell me why this animal is a spider enemy.
- If your picture was in this collection, where would you put it?
- Show and tell three ways a spider can protect and defend herself from an
- Camouflage diorama.
- Journals in which students draw spiders defending themselves.
- Drawings of two spider enemies.
- Spiders Can Defend Themselves
- Spider Enemies
- Spider Paths