foss science stories—INSECTS

introduction

The reading selections in FOSS Science Stories are an integral part of the FOSS Water Module. As such, they integrate reading and language arts skills in the context of learning science concepts.

You will find a variety of reading formats and experiences for your students. Some readings are narrative—science stories that may be folktales, descriptive writings, biographies, or journal notes. Some are expository—readings that are much like encyclopedia readings or informative articles. Some are technical—giving directions for the construction of something or explaining how something works. And some are historical—readings that give students a glimpse into the past, recalling significant people and events that are part of the rich legacy of science.

The scientifically literate person knows how to read for enjoyment and to get information from a variety of formats. FOSS introduces students to a range of formats as they study science content.

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USING THE READING MATERIALS

The reading materials are designed to be introduced after students have had some experience with the content presented in the module. Because of this design, it is important to plan a reading period around the time students are completing an investigation. For example, in Insects, the story What Makes an Insect an Insect? is best introduced after students have investigated the structure and life cycle of multiple insects. With such experience they can better understand that insects, as a group, are defined by a set of common characteristics.

The big book and accompanying student books allow the teacher to use a variety of reading strategies. You may want to read the text multiple times, beginning with reading it aloud. By introducing the story and reading the selection aloud from the big book, you can focus on the science content and comprehension. By having students reread the stories in a small group, you can further develop reading skills and vocabulary and at the same time strengthen scientific ideas through small-group discussion.

This folio provides strategies for introducing each story, discussion questions to develop the main ideas and to check for comprehension, and extension activities. Choose the activities that will best suit the ability levels of your class and contribute to your overall objectives.

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SCHEDULE THE STORY:

Read this story during Investigation 1, Part 2: Larva, Pupa, Adult.
Time: 15–20 minutes

 

 

SCIENCE CONTENT:

Insects are the most plentiful type of animal life on Earth and are found in every environment. Although insects can be annoying and even destructive to humans, they are beneficial.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SO MANY KINDS, SO MANY PLACES

RELATING THE STORY TO THE INVESTIGATION
Students have begun their study of insects with their examination of mealworms. They have observed their basic structure, behavior, and needs. By introducing students to the wide variety of insects, this story encourages students to be aware of insects’ presence in all environments.

READ THE STORY
Give students a few minutes to look at and discuss the cover of the book. Then have them examine the table of contents. If this is your class’s first exposure to a table of contents, take a few minutes to discuss what a table of contents is, and why it is used.

Introduce the title of the story. Brainstorm with students where they see insects. Accept all responses, even if a student offers an example that isn’t an insect (i.e. a spider). Students will learn and clarify the definition of an insect in What Makes an Insect an Insect? Ask students to identify the kinds of insects they see. Explain that this story will describe some interesting insects and that students should listen carefully for insects they know and insects that are new to them.

Read the story, using the strategy that will be most effective for your class.
• Read the story aloud to students, using the big book.
• Have students read the story aloud in small groups.

Allow students to respond to the question on page 3. Students may want to know the names of the insects. See page 15 in this folio for the name of each insect in the book.

AFTER THE STORY
Ask students to identify which insects they’ve seen before and which were new to them. Ask students to identify where we may see insects.

The following questions can be used to deepen students’ understanding and may best be used after students have reread the story in small groups.
• What would be a good conclusion to this story?
• What are the insects doing in each of these pictures? Why are there so many ladybugs on the tree trunk? What did we catch the red milkweed beetle doing on page 3?
• How are insects useful? [Allow students to retell what the story said, but encourage them to think of other ways insects are useful. For instance, ladybugs eat aphids that damage plants, and flies help clean up the environment.]
• How are insects harmful? [Allow students to retell what the story said, but encourage them to add to the examples. For instance, ants get into our food and mosquitoes bite people.]

EXTENDING THE STORY
An Insect Hunt. Either as a whole-class activity around the school or as an individual activity at home, have students look for and keep track of insects they see. Instruct students to only observe the insects, not collect them. Students can record their findings on an insect-hunt chart like the one below. Students can draw a picture or list the name of the insect and list the places they saw it.

Insect Collage. Collect magazines with pictures of insects (children’s science magazines such as Ladybug, Spider, National Geographic World, or gardening magazines may be good resources). Have students create an insect collage representing a variety of insects.

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SCHEDULE THE STORY:

Read this story during Investigation 3, Part 3: Growing Milkweed Bugs.
Time: 15–20 minutes

 

 

 

SCIENCE CONTENT:

Insects come in a variety of shapes and colors. An insect’s shape and color can help it hide from enemies or advertise it in the hope of scaring its enemies away.

 

 

 

INSECT SHAPES AND COLORS

RELATING THE STORY TO THE INVESTIGATION
Students have investigated and observed the differences and similarities of three insects—the mealworm, the waxworm, and the milkweed bug. This story helps students understand these differences by exploring the usefulness of a wide variety of shapes and colors of insects.

READ THE STORY
Ask students if all insects look alike. Brainstorm with students how insects differ. Discuss why insects are different. Explain that the next story will introduce students to some very different-looking insects. Ask students to listen carefully for how and why these insects are different from one another.

Read the story, using the strategy that will be most effective for your class.

The focus of the discussion on pages 8 and 9 is camouflage. Before reading the text, you may want to ask students to identify where the insects are in the pictures. The walking stick is very well camouflaged. It is to the left of the main branch of the plant. Its head is pointing up, and its body curves to the left. It has antennae at the top of its head, and you can easily see three legs.

The focus of the discussion on pages 10 and 11 is advertisement. Enemies will see the brightly marked insects but will avoid them, thinking they may taste bad or make them sick.

AFTER THE STORY
Discuss the story, using the following questions as a guide:
• Why are some insects hard to see?
• Why are some insects so colorful?

The following questions can be used to deepen students’ understanding and may best be used after students have reread the story in small-group settings.
• Think of the insects you have been working with in the module. Are they camouflaged or advertised? Why do you think so?
• Think of common insects—ladybugs, bees, ants, and so forth. Are those insects using camouflage or advertisement? Why do you think so?
Which strategy—camouflage or advertisement—is the best strategy for an insect to use to avoid enemies?

EXTENDING THE STORY
Seek and Find Insects. Have students draw a garden scene with flowers, trees, grass, and so forth. Have them include insects—some that are brightly colored and some that are camouflaged. Students can exchange drawings to see if they can find each other’s camouflaged insects.

Read a Book. Read aloud How to Hide a Butterfly and Other Insects by Ruth Heller (see Resources folio). Encourage students to find the insects camouflaged in the pictures.

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Schedule The Story:

Read this story after completing Investigation 4, Part 5: Pupae and Adults.
Time: 15–20 minutes

 

 

 

ScIENCE CONTENT:

An insect has three body parts (the head, thorax, and abdomen) and six legs. Most insects also have one pair of antennae and one or two pairs of wings.

 

WHAT MAKES AN INSECT AN INSECT?

RELATING THE STORY TO THE INVESTIGATION
Students have worked with a variety of insects and have been identifying the three body parts and six legs each insect develops. By directly pointing out these characteristics as defining elements of an insect, the story challenges students to distinguish insects from noninsects.

READ THE STORY
Introduce the title of the story to students and ask them to answer the question: What makes an insect an insect? Briefly brainstorm ideas. Explain that the story will answer that question and then test students’ knowledge.

Read the story, using the strategy that will be most effective for your class.

Spend adequate time looking at all the insects on pages 12 and 13. Identify all the characteristics that make each insect an insect. Students need to clearly understand these characteristics before looking at pages 14 and 15.

AFTER THE STORY
Discuss pages 14 and 15, using the chart below as a guide. The following question can be used to deepen students’ understanding and may best be used after students have reread the story in small groups.
• Discuss the difference between an insect and a bug.

 

 

Students may remember that the milkweed bug has a beak to suck water and juice. This beak is the defining characteristic of a bug. Many people use the term bug to refer to any number of insects. Bugs, however, are a specific group of insects with sucking mouthparts. Milkweed bugs are true bugs, as are squash bugs, water bugs, and water striders.

EXTENDING THE STORY
Invent an Insect. Ask students to use what they know about insects to design a new insect. They may create any type of insect as long as it has the characteristics of an insect (three body parts and six legs). Remind students to think about whether their insect will have features that camouflage or advertise it. Students can name and label their insect. Depending on the ability level of your class, students can also write or dictate a brief description.

INTRODUCE THE GLOSSARY
Review what students can do when they come to a word they don't know while reading (look for context clues, use phonetic clues, ask someone for help, guess at the word, skip the word, look it up in a dictionary). Explain that in a book like Insects there is another tool they can use. Have students turn to the glossary, page 47. Explain that a glossary is like a dictionary made for that particular book. If there is a word they do not know, they can check to see if it’s in the glossary. The glossary lists the word and the word's meaning.

Turn to page 12 of the text. Reread the sentence “Most insects have one pair of antennae and one or two pairs of wings.” Ask students if they know what an antenna is. Explain that, if they didn't know what antennae were, they could look up the word in the glossary. Ask students to find antennae in the glossary. Read the definition. You might look up a second example that a student suggests. Close the lesson by reviewing what students can do when they come to a word they don’t know while reading. Be sure students add “look in the glossary” to their responses.

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Schedule The Story:

Read this story after completing Investigation 5, Part 3: Butterflies.
Time: 15–20 minutes

 

 

 

ScIENCE CONTENT:

Insects, like all living things, progress through a life cycle. Most insects go through four stages—egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Some insects, however, develop into nymphs after hatching from eggs. The nymphs then develop into adults after molting.

 

 

INSECT LIFE CYCLES

RELATING THE STORY TO THE INVESTIGATION
Students have successfully observed the life cycle of five different insects. By introducing students to the life cycle of an insect they have not observed, this story reminds them that the life cycles of different insects share similar stages.

READ THE STORY
Introduce the title of the story. Discuss what students learned about life cycles from their investigation of insects. Encourage students to identify the different life cycles (egg, larva, pupa, adult; and egg, nymph, adult). Explain that this story will tell students about a different insect’s life cycle. What do they think will be the same? What will be different? Have students read or listen to the story to find out.

Read the story, using the strategy that will be most effective for your class. Allow students to guess what insect is pictured on pages 16 and 17 before revealing its identity.

Once the egg is laid, the larva and pupa never leave the cell until it emerges as an adult. It is interesting to note that insect larvae and pupae do not look much like adults. They continue to grow and develop through the stages until they finally appear as adults. In the top photo on page 21, the grasshopper nymph has just molted and left behind its skin. The grasshopper is the green insect above the molt.

AFTER THE STORY
Discuss the story, using the following questions as a guide.
• What is the same in most insects’ life cycles?
• What can be different in an insect’s life cycle?

The following questions can be used to deepen students’ understanding and may best be used after students have reread the story in small-group settings.
• On page 16, the text states, “The larva eats food made from pollen and honey.” Who feeds the larvae? [Allow students to brainstorm ideas and guide them to infer that adult bees provide food for the larvae. When an adult first emerges, it works as a “nurse bee” and is responsible for feeding the growing larvae. Later the bees go out and gather nectar and honey.]
• How old is the bee on page 18? [After discussing the “nurse bees,” students should infer that the bee on the flower is an older bee.] Have students carefully examine the photo of the milkweed bugs on page 21. Ask students to identify the different stages they see. How many adults do they see? How many nymphs? Do they see a molt? Most of the milkweed bugs are in their third instar. The one adult is the top left bug, and the molt is at the bottom right of the picture.

EXTENDING THE STORY
Introduce Latin Plurals. Write the words larva and pupa on the board. Explain that sometimes these words are spelled differently. Next to the words on the board write larvae and pupae. Ask students if they remember seeing the words spelled this way. Explain that larva and pupa refer to one of each thing, while larvae and pupae refer to more than one. Explain that, when we want to indicate there's more than one of something, we change the ending of a word. Often we add an s to the end. This time, we are adding an e.

Write the following sentences on the board:
The egg hatched into a ______. The larva changed into a _____. Ask students how many eggs hatched. Explain that, since only one egg hatched, the correct word to use in the blank is larva. Continue with the next sentence. Ask students to identify the correct spelling of pupa.

Rewrite the sentences so they are plural.
The eggs hatched into __________. The ___________ changed into __________.

Depending on the ability of your class, have students work as a group or individually to choose the correct word for each blank.

Draw Life-Cycle Pictures. Explain that all living things progress through a life cycle. Review the life cycle of an insect. Ask students to think of the changes other living things go through—an egg becomes a bird, a puppy becomes a dog, a seed becomes a plant, a baby becomes them! Have students illustrate a life cycle they know. Students may choose an insect they have observed during the module, a bee, or another living thing (plant or animal). They should draw a picture of each stage and label it.

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Schedule The Stories:

Read this story after completing Investigation 5, Part 3: Butterflies.
Time: 15–20 minutes

 

 

 

ScIENCE CONTENT:

All organisms have a life cycle. The sequential stages of life cycles are different for different kinds of animals. Animals reproduce offspring of their own kind. Young animals of a kind resemble each other and eventually resemble their parents. Many characteristics of an organism are inherited from the parents.

 

 

 

LIFE GOES AROUND

RELATING THE STORY TO THE INVESTIGATION
Students have observed the life cycle of five different insects. By introducing the life cycles of a fish, frog, duck, and mouse, this article reminds students that all living things progress through a life cycle.

READ THE STORY
Ask students what a life cycle is. Brainstorm with students what they know about life cycles. When does a life cycle start? When does it end? Why is it called a cycle? What are the stages? Introduce the title of the story, Life Goes Around, and explain that this article will tell students about different animals’ life cycles. Ask students to listen for similarities and differences between different animals’ life cycles. Read the article, using the strategy that best fits your class’s ability level. Pause and discuss the questions posed in the text.

AFTER THE STORY
Discuss the story, using these questions as a guide.
• According to the story, what does cycle mean? [To go around.]
• What did the story tell us about life cycles?

The following questions can be used to deepen students’ understanding and may best be used after students have reread the story in small-group settings.
• What animals were discussed in the story?
• Does every animal have the same life cycle?
• How are the animals’ life cycles the same? How are they different?
• Some animals hatch from eggs. Others do not hatch from eggs but have “live birth.” What animals hatch from eggs? What animals have live birth?
• What is a human’s life cycle? Which animal in the story has a life cycle most like a human’s?

EXTENDING THE STORY
Diagramming Life Cycles. The life cycles of the ladybug, trout, frog, duck, and mouse are all described in the story. Have students choose one of the animals and diagram its life cycle. Students can draw a picture representing each stage, and add arrows showing the transition from one stage to the next. The pictures should be drawn in a circular pattern to represent the recurring cycle.

Read Lifetimes: A Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children. This book, by Bryan Mellonie and Robert Ingpen, describes lifetimes for plants, people, birds, fish, and insects. “So, no matter how long they are, or how short, lifetimes are really all the same. They have beginnings, and endings, and there is living in between.” This book is appropriate to read to students as they begin to see the insects they have cared for die a natural death. See the Resources folio for more information.

Names for Offspring of Animals. The term offspring refers to young that come from parents. Offspring might not resemble the parents at first, but eventually they do. Young human offspring are called babies or children. Work with students to make a list of the names of young offspring of other animals. For example, insect offspring are first called larvae or, in some cases, nymphs. Young birds are called hatchlings or chicks. Young ducks are called ducklings. Young fish can be called hatchlings.

 

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Schedule The Story:

Read this story after completing Investigation 6, Part 3: Aquatic Insects.
Time: 15–20 minutes

 

 

 

ScIENCE CONTENT:

Insects share many similar characteristics. Those characteristics, however, can look very different from one another, depending on their use.

 

SAME BUT DIFFERENT

RELATING THE STORY TO THE INVESTIGATION
Students have completed their investigations of a wide variety of insects. This story celebrates the diversity of insects and reminds students that insects share our lives.

READ THE STORY
Discuss how something can be the same yet different. For example, you may have three balls, but one is red, one is blue, and one is yellow. Ask whether insects can be the same yet different. Briefly brainstorm a few examples. Explain that this story will also share ideas about how insects can be the same yet different.

Read the story, using the strategy that will be most effective for your class.

AFTER THE STORY
Discuss the story, using the following questions as a guide.
How are these insects alike?
How are they different?

The following strategies can be used to deepen students’ understanding and may best be used after students have reread the story in small-group settings.
• Look carefully at each of the pictures. Discuss each insect’s characteristics, revisiting the key issues addressed in earlier stories—camouflage, advertisement, and body structure.
• Investigate insect characteristics by pointing out a specific detail and asking students to look for something that is the same or different in the book. For instance, do all butterflies have long, thin antennae with knobs on the end? Students can look on pages 10 and 12 for other photos of butterflies to initially answer the question. Students can continue to look for evidence by observing butterflies or looking in other resource material.

Other questions might include: Do all moths have feathery antennae? Are all moths soft and “furry” looking? Are insects’ legs always jointed? Do some insects have front legs that are more like arms?

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Schedule The Story:

Read this story after completing Investigation 6, Part 3: Aquatic Insects.
Time: 15–20 minutes

 

 

SCIENCE CONTENT:

Many characteristics of an organism are inherited from the parents. Some characteristics are caused by the environment. Environmental stress can affect the growth and development of plants and animals.

 

ENVIRONMENT

RELATING THE STORY TO THE INVESTIGATION
Students have observed a variety of differences between insects. This article expands students’ knowledge by introducing environmental factors that affect the characteristics of different organisms.

READ THE STORY
Ask students, "What makes insects the same but different?" You may want to review the story Same But Different to generate ideas. Continue the discussion by asking students where the differences come from—are insects just born different or can things happen to insects to make them look different? Introduce the title of the next story, Environment, and explain that this article will tell students how the environment can affect how organisms look.

Read the story, using the strategy that will be most effective for your class.

AFTER THE STORY
Discuss the story, using these questions as a guide.
How does the environment change the way a beetle or a tree looks?
Will environmental changes be passed on to offspring? Why not?

The following questions can be used to deepen students’ understanding and may best be used after students have reread the story in small-group settings.
• What characteristics do beetles get from their parents?
• What characteristics did the oak tree get from its parent?
• Which characteristics did the environment influence?
• How did the environment change the characteristics?

EXTENDING THE STORY
Hunting for Environmental Changes. If you have kept insect habitats from the investigations in this module, allow students to observe the insects in these habitats. Provide magnifying glasses and ask students to look for differences between individuals of the same kinds of insect. Have students list the differences in a chart like the one below and indicate whether the difference is environmental or inherited.

 

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Schedule The Story:

Read this story after completing Investigation 6, Part 3: Aquatic Insects.
Time: 15–20 minutes

 

 

SCIENCE CONTENT:

There is variation among individuals of one kind within a population.

 

VARIATION

RELATING THE STORY TO THE INVESTIGATION
Students have observed what makes different kinds of insects similar to each another, and what variations set them apart. Through these observations students gain an understanding of the diversity of life in the insect world. They have also observed variations of size, color, and pattern within a single population of one kind of insect. The variation in a single population is the focus of this article. It expands on students’ knowledge of variation in insect populations by describing observable variations in other populations of organisms.

READ THE STORY
Introduce the title of the story, Variation, and ask students if they know what variation means. Explain that it means difference. Individuals of a single kind of insect can have variations that make individuals different from each other. Ask if other kinds of animals have variations that make individuals of that kind different from one another. Briefly discuss students’ ideas.

Read the story, using the strategy that will be most effective for your class.

AFTER THE STORY
Discuss the story, using these questions as a guide.
What organisms have variation from individual to individual?
How do individual organisms of one kind vary from each other?
• Are variations always easy to see?

EXTENDING THE STORY
Variations in Your Class. Ask how people in your class vary from one another. Brainstorm a list of ideas—eye color, hair color, height, age, boy or girl (gender), and so forth. Make a bar graph representing the variations in your class. Choose variations that have a minimal number of choices, such as eye color or hair color. Avoid variations that might embarrass students, such as weight.

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NAMES OF ORGANISMS IN EACH PHOTO

Page 1: Southeastern lubber grasshopper (Romalea microptera)
Page 2: Convergent ladybird (Hippodamia convergens)
Page 3: Red milkweed beetle
Page 4: Katydid on cactus (top), water striders (bottom)
Page 5: Cluster of noxious ladybird beetles
Page 6: Green frog eating dragonfly (left), male western bluebird (right)
Page 7: Honeybees (top), silkworm moth (Bombyx Mori) (bottom)
Page 8: Treehopper, thorn mimic (Campylenchia latipes)
Page 9: Katydid (top), walking stick (bottom)
Page 10: Painted lady on buddleia or butterfly bush
Page 11: Scarab beetle (top), eyed click beetle (Alaus oculatus) (bottom)
Page 12: Ant (Camponotus americanus) (top), butterfly (bottom)
Page 13: Dragonfly (top), fly on daisy (center), southeastern lubber grasshopper (Romalea microptera) (bottom)
Page 14: Iridescent beetle (top), pill bug (bottom)
Page 15: Centipede (Scolopendra) (top), spider (Argiope) (bottom)
Page 16: Honeybee eggs in worker cells (top), honeybee larva in cell (bottom)
Page 17: Drone pupa
Page 18: Honeybee on an aster
Page 19: Mosquito larvae (Culex sp.) attached to water's surface (top), luna moth caterpillar (Actias luna) (bottom)
Page 20: Mosquito (Anopheles sp.) (top), luna moth (Actias luna) (bottom)
Page 21: Short-horned grasshopper nymph (family Acrididae) with
shed skin (top), large milkweed bug (Oncopeltus fasciatus),
showing various stages on a milkweed pod (bottom)
Page 22–24: Ladybird beetles (ladybug)
Page 25: Monarch butterfly
Page 26–27: Brook trout
Page 28–29: Wood frogs (Rana sylvatica)
Page 30–31: Mallard ducks
Page 32–33: House mice
Page 34: Chinese oak silkworm moth (Antherea pernyi) (top), cricket (bottom)
Page 35: Bullet ant (Paraponera clavata) (top), damselfly (center), painted lady (Vanessa gardui) (bottom)
Page 36–38: Darkling beetles (Tenebrio molitor)
Page 39: Cypress trees
Page 40–41: Oak trees
Page 42: Humans from Oakland, CA
Page 43: Black bear (Urus americanus)
Page 44: Brown trout
Page 45: Iceland scallop shells
Page 46: Pansies
Page 47: Crickets

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Summary Chart

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Delta Education - FOSS

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