What Bugs you
What Bugs you?
An Educator’s Guide to the Program
PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: This program explores one of the largest groups of
arthropods, the insects. At the completion of this program students will be able to
identify the characteristics, morphological aspects, metamorphosis and beneficial
versus pest insects.
Before your class visits the Oklahoma Aquarium
This guide contains information and activities for you to use both before and after
your visit to the Oklahoma Aquarium. You may want to read stories about insects
to the students, present information in class, or utilize some of the activities from
Table of Contents
What Bugs You abstract
Internet resources and books
PASS/OK Science standards
Inspect the Insects
My Insect Report
Twist an Insect
What Bugs You?: ABSTRACT
If one were to look at the earth they would find that vertebrate animals are a
minority while arthropods account for 80% of all animal life on earth.
Arthropods have been around for millions of years and some of their ancient
characteristics have been carried over into modern arthropods, such as the
exoskeleton. The exoskeleton supports and protects this invertebrate group.
Exoskeletons are composed of a material called chitin. Having an exoskeleton is a
double edged sword, since the shell is not flexible, the ability to grow is
impossible without molting. Molting is triggered by hormones and begins with a
new exoskeleton forming under the old exoskeleton. When the time is right the
old exoskeleton splits down the back and the insect begins the process of pulling
out of its old exoskeleton. The process of molting can take anywhere from several
minutes to hours. Molting is a delicate process since the insects shed everything
including their eyes. When an insect molts they are very vulnerable while they
wait for their new exoskeleton to harden. Modern arthropods, include insects,
arachnids, and crustaceans. Of all the different classes of arthropods insects are the
most numerous and the only arthropods capable of flight. Insects have 6 legs, 3
body parts and antenna. Arachnids have 8 legs, 2 body parts and no antenna.
Crustaceans such as crabs, have 10 legs with two paired appendages, and are
mostly aquatic. Pill bugs a.k.a woodlice, are an example of a terrestrial crustacean;
although they have gills that usually function underwater they are able to survive
on land by living in moist environments. The most numerous group of insects are
the beetles (coleoptera) which contains 350,000 species. Insects have two types of
eyes, simple and compound. Simple eyes can only tell light from dark while
compound eyes are made of several lenses which enhance their ability to detect
movement. Insect’s sense organs can be found on different body parts, a spider
tastes with its feet while an ant tastes with its antennae. Different organs are
utilized among the insects to detect sound, some are similar to drum heads
(tympanal organs) while some are small hairs (labral pilifers). An insect’s body
plan changes as they go from egg to juvenile to adult. Metamorphosis literally
means change of form. When looking at a butterfly one can see how differently a
caterpillar’s form is compared with its adult form the butterfly. There are 2 types
of metamorphosis, complete and incomplete. A butterfly goes through complete
metamorphosis which means the juvenile looks completely different from the
adult. A grasshopper goes through incomplete metamorphosis which is
characterized by a juvenile that looks like a miniature adult. For some people it is
hard to believe that most insects are beneficial to us, in fact, the human race
would not survive without the help of insects. Insects perform essential tasks such
as pollinating our food crops, and aerating our soil. Insects can be pests when
they destroy our crops or spread disease, however only 1% of insects are actually
detrimental to the human race.
What Bugs You?: EDUCATOR INFORMATION:
Although insects are ancient their bodies are small and delicate, making
fossils of insects very rare.
Hair and DNA fragments have been found on ancient insects preserved in
Muscles that allow movement in insects are attached to the inside of the
Horseshoe crabs are an example of a modern arthropod which has changed
very little over time.
Insects are found in every habitat on earth except for Antarctica.
Insects are cold-blooded.
Of the many species of insects most of them are only 1” in length.
The smallest insect is the dwarf beetle measuring only 0.01”.
The largest insect is the goliath beetle measuring over 2” in length.
Tiny hairs on the insect’s bodies detect temperature, movement and
Some insects such as termites communicate using chemicals known as
Fireflies are actually beetles and not flies.
Insects can have one or two pairs of wings.
The dragonfly is the fastest insect with the ability to fly 31 mph.
The caterpillar (juvenile butterfly) grows 2000 times larger than its original
Scientists discover approximately 7,000 new species of insects each year.
Insects use camouflage to avoid predation and disguise themselves as
anything from plants, to bird droppings.
Abdomen- the last of an insect’s three main body parts
Adaptation- an alteration or adjustment in structure or habits, often hereditary,
by which a species or individual improves its condition in relationship to its
Amber- fossilized tree sap
Arachnid- a class of arthropods with 8 legs, 2 body segments and contains species
such as spiders, scorpions, ticks, mites and harvestmen, etc…
Arthropod- an invertebrate characterized with a hard exoskeleton, segmented
body, and jointed legs
Chitin- material found in the exoskeleton of arthropods, cell walls, beaks, fungus,
Chrysalis- pupal case of many butterflies
Crustacean- a class of arthropods with 10 legs or more, which are mostly found
in the water but can also be found on land, and contains species such as shrimp,
lobster, krill, woodlice, etc….
Ecdysis- the process of shedding or molting the exoskeleton, also known as the
Environment- all of the things around a plant, animal or other organism
Entomology- the study of insects
Exoskeleton- a hard covering composed of chitin which gives support to the
invertebrate group known as arthropods
Habitat- a place an animal lives, which includes, weather, plants and animals
Invertebrate- an animal without a backbone
Malaria- an infectious disease transmitted by the bite of a female mosquito,
which kills 3 million people each year
Metamorphosis- the change of an insect from one form to another as it develops
into an adult
Molting- a process of shedding the exoskeleton which is necessary for growth in
Nymph- the immature stage of an insect that goes through incomplete
Ommatidum- a single six-sided lens found in the compound eye of an insect
Order- a unit of the biological classification system that lies between class and
Pest- a plant or animal that affects humans in a negative way
Pheromones- scented chemicals secreted on the outside of animal’s body that
cause certain behavior by other individuals of the same species
Pollination- a transfer of pollen from one plant to another which aids in the
reproduction of plant life
Pupa- the inactive stage of an insect’s life cycle that is found in complete
Species- a unit of the biological classification system that is characterized by
animals that can breed with each other to create fertile offspring
Spiracles- holes in the exoskeleton of an insect that allow oxygen to enter
Thorax- the middle of an insect’s body in which the wings attach
Trachea- small tubes that connect and transfer oxygen from the spiracles to the
BOOKS and REFERENCES:
Tait, DR. Noel (2005) Bugs. Weldon Owen Pty Ltd
Doris, Ellen (1996) Meet the Arthropods. Thames And Hudson
Braus, Judy (1998) Incredible Insects. McGraw-Hill
Blobaum, Cindy (2005) Insectigations 40 Hands-On Activities To Explore
The Insect World. Chicago Review Press
Maynard, Chris (2001) Bugs A Close-UP View Of The Insect World. DK
VanCleave, Janice (1998) Insects And Spiders Mind-Boggling Experiments
You Can Turn Into Science Fair Projects. PB Printing
PASS STANDARDS MET:
All education programs and their accompanying materials at the Oklahoma
Aquarium will meet several Oklahoma PASS objectives in various disciplines. The
following list is not all inclusive.
Science Processes and Inquiry
1- Observe and Measure
3- Experiment and Inquiry
3- Experimental Design
4- Interpret and Communicate
Standard 1- Properties of Objects and Materials
Standard 1- Properties of Matter and Energy
Standard 1- Physical Properties in Matter
Standard 2- Characteristics and Basic Needs of
Organisms and Environments
Standard 3- Characteristics of Organisms
Standard 2- Organisms and Environments
Standard 3- Structure and Function of Living Systems
Standard 3- Properties of Earth and Materials
Standard 4- Properties of Earth and Moon
Standard 3- Structure of Earth and the Solar System
OKLAHOMA ACADEMIC STANDARDS FOR SCIENCE MET: