Insect or Arachnid?

Insect or Arachnid? lesson plan

Do tiny creatures that creep, crawl, buzz, and fly around your head bug you? Use Crayola Dry-Erase Markers to demonstrate your insect-elligence.

  • 1.

    Although they both have exoskeletons (hard skeleton on the outside of their bodies), segmented bodies, and jointed legs, spiders and insects are very different species. Read books---such as "Everything Bug: What Kids Really Want to Know About Insects and Spiders" by Cherie Winner or "Simon and Shuster Children's Guide to Insects and Spiders" by Jinny Johnson---to learn about differences between the species.

  • 2.

    Notice that spiders have two body parts and insects have three. Observe the eight simple eyes on spiders and the two compound eyes on insects. Did you see that spiders have no antennae, while insects have two? Almost everyone knows that insects have three pairs of legs, while spiders have four. With Crayola Colored Pencils, jot down other interesting facts as you discover them.

  • 3.

    Cut paper into slips with Crayola Scissors. Write your favorite fun facts, one per slip. Place papers from everyone in the class into a container such as a recycled box.

  • 4.

    At the top of a large dry-erase board, use Crayola Dry-Erase Markers to draw an accurate illustration of a spider and an insect. Draw a line under the illustrations and a line between them, extending the full length of the board.

  • 5.

    One student at a time pulls a fact from the container and reads it. Together, decide whether the statement refers to spiders or insects. As each fact is read, write the characteristic or place a tally mark under the appropriate bug. Stack the facts into a


  • Students compare and contrast the characteristics of insects and arachnids through research, observation, and discussion.
  • Students write accurate statements describing insect and arachnid life cycles and anatomies.
  • Students listen as each description is read aloud and respond by classifying each fact into an insect or arachnid category.


  • Prepare an insect/arachnid research area in the classroom. Include actual insect/spider specimens, photos, illustrations, and books, such as the series by Judy Allen titled "Are You a …?"
  • Create an interactive bulletin board. With classmates, brainstorm names of spiders and insects. Work together to complete a mural including grass, bushes, trees, and sky. Add spider webs, flowers, and other details. Choose a bug from the list to draw and
  • Create simple board games in which spiders mature, complete a web, and catch a meal; or insects move through the stages of metamorphosis to become an adult. Include perils such as torn webs, cocoons knocked down by storms, or caterpillars eaten by birds. Add positive occurrences such as plenty of food, good weather, and sheltered habitats. Trade and play games as a culminating activity.
  • Assessment: Have students cut or tear out brightly colored construction paper shapes and glue on black construction paper to create a new species of insect or arachnid. Ask students to include all necessary body parts, accurately assembled and labeled. Name the new bug species.