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All About Ladybugs: 1st Grade Science Lesson Plan

By Tracey Bleakley

Insects are a popular science unit in first grade and a study of insects wouldn't be complete without a fun ladybug lesson. Your students will become ladybug experts when they observe them and then create their own ladybug shape books.

Observing Ladybugs

Your students will learn a lot when they observe ladybugs in this fun lesson plan. This a great activity to use with your science notebooks or journals.

Materials

A book about ladybugs

Chart paper and markers

Live ladybugs, one per student or pair of students (You can usually find them at nurseries during the spring.)

Clear, plastic cups

Hand lenses, one per student

Science journals

Pencils and crayons

Procedure

Read your students a nonfiction book about ladybugs. A few good choices are Are You a Ladybug? by Judy Allen, Ladybugs: Red, Fiery, and Bright by Mia Posada or Ladybugs by Claire Llewellyn and Barrie Watts. Discuss the body parts of ladybugs (head, thorax and abdomen) and the characteristics that make them insects - six legs, wings, three body parts, etc. Show your students examples of some of the body parts in pictures in the book.

Tell your students that they are going to observe their own real ladybugs. Give each student a ladybug in a plastic cup and a hand lens. You may want to have them work in pairs if you need them to share supplies. Show them how to carefully handle the insects and to use their hand lenses to observe them. Encourage the students to look for as many body parts as they can to observe how the ladybugs move and what the look like.

After they have been given time to observe, have them draw a diagram of their ladybugs in their science notebooks or on blank paper. Tell them to label as many body parts as they can. They can also label other things they see like the spots.

When everyone is finished, bring the students together to discuss what they noticed when were observing their ladybugs. Ask them what parts they could find and what other things they ;earned about the insects. Write the students observations on chart paper and then with the students' help draw and label a ladybug diagram on chart paper.

When you are finished with the ladybugs, take them outside and release them in a flower bed or in the bushes.

Assess

Look at the students' diagrams. Notice how many body parts they drew and labeled and if they did so correctly.

Ladybug Shape Book

After studying ladybugs your students can make a ladybug shape book.

Materials

Ladybug shape book pattern

Ladybug shape on red construction paper for the front and back cover of the book, two per child

Pencils

Crayons

Procedure

Go over your ladybug observations chart and ladybug diagram with the class. Ask the students to tell you some things that they have learned about ladybugs. Tell them that they are going to be writing their own ladybug books.

Then give each student several pieces of ladybug shaped paper. Instruct them to write one fact about ladybugs on each page and illustrate and color. If you use the ladybug pattern above you can white out some of the lines so there is room for a picture. After they have finished the pages, they can get two red ladybug shapes for the front and back covers and write a title like All About Ladybugs on the front. Put the books together and then staple or bind them with a book binder to make a ladybug shaped book.

Assess

Read their books to see how many facts they included and if they are accurate. You may want to make a grading rubric or checklist before the students make the books and use it to assess them.

These ladybug lessons will be favorites with your first graders. Look here for some fun insect poems and crafts to go with your ladybug or insect unit.