Investigating Spiders


Investigating Spiders
Are Spiders Insects? Lesson Idea
Te Whāriki Strand five - Exploration: Children develop the ability to enquire, research, explore, generate, and modify their own working theories about
the natural world.
New Zealand Science Curriculum
Level 1/2 Nature of science Students will:
Understanding about science: Appreciate that scientists ask questions about our world that lead to investigations and that open-mindedness is important
because there may be more than one explanation.
Investigating in science: Extend their experiences and personal explanations of the natural world through exploration, play, asking questions, and discussing
simple models.
Communicating in science: Build their language and develop their understandings of the many ways the natural world can be represented.
Participating and contributing: Explore and act on issues and questions that link their science learning to their daily living.
Level 1/2 Living world
Evolution: Students will recognise that there are lots of different living things in the world and that they can be grouped in different ways.
• Easy: Students will understand that spiders are not insects.
• Moderate: Students will be able to tell you at least one feature of a spider and an insect, for example: Spiders have 8 legs whilst insects have just 6.
• Advanced: Students will be able to tell you that insects have 3 distinct body parts. (Head, thorax and abdomen). Spiders have 2 body parts. (Combined head
and thorax and an abdomen). Spiders are members of the Arachnid family whilst insects belong to the Insect family.
What you need
A range of pictures of insects and spiders (see 8 attached), If possible, actual samples of Spiders (Science Alive hire out Spider samples).
A photocopy of a sorting sheet. (See attached and enlarge to A3), Word wall Display (Optional) spider, arachnid, thorax, abdomen,
Use the spider’s thematic web (attached) for older groups to inform you about what they already know or want to find out about spiders.
Questions to open discussions in class or small groups:
• Is there a difference between spiders and insects?
• How can we tell the difference between spiders and insects?
• If we look at examples of spiders and insects, will we be able to tell the difference between them?
• Do the bodies of all insects look the same?
• Do the bodies of all spiders look the same?
Group work
Leave the selection of insect and spider pictures on the table. Ask the groups to sort the pictures into three groups: spiders, insects, and unknown.
Encourage them to share the reasons for the choices they are making. Once they have sorted the pictures take a photograph for evidence for learning journals
for pupils. In the group ask questions such as: “ How did you make your decision about which group to put things in? Which parts of the animal were you
comparing? Do you have any animals that you didn’t put in a group? Why couldn’t you group them? Finally as a class look at each group. Next ask the children to
come up with answer to the question, “What do all the things in each separate group have in common?”
Further development
If spiders are not insects they must have their own category. Ask children to research what category spiders go in. If the children at very young tell them the
answer Arachnid, it will be a nice new word to learn and share. Use the word wall to remember the words related to the topic and add new words as the children
research further ie web, spinneret.
Which Group Do I Belong In?
funnelweb.jpg “Fir0002/Flagstaffotos
Richard Bartz, Munich aka Makro Freak (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons
Kindernacht (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.
org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
TTaylor (Own work) [GFDL (, CC-BY-SA-3.0
(], via Wikimedia Commons
By Pavel / krasensky ( [FAL], via Wikimedia Commons
Crafty Webs
Web-spinning spiders are born with the instinct of how to make a web. They make their webs by using silk thread that begins as a liquid in their bodies. The
thread comes out of the spinneret. As it emerges the thread may be sticky or dry, depending on what the spider needs it for. The threads can also be thick
or thin. Different species of spiders make webs of different shapes and patterns. Spiders use their webs to ensnare insects, which are their food. All spiders
have some kind of poison that they use to paralyse or kill the insects that get caught into their webs. Spiders can not digest solid food so they inject an
enzyme into the insect that turns the insides to liquid, the spider then sucks it out. Spiders belong to a class of animals called arachnids. They have four pairs
of segmented legs, and can grow a new leg if they lose one. Most spiders have eight eyes. A spider’s body is divided into two sections, the abdomen and the
Crafty Web: Use black paper and white chalk so students can draw their own webs and spiders. Have them follow the web-building method that spiders
really use or create their own type of web, or glue and string on the black paper.
Or dribble on glue in a web formation and sprinkle with glitter.
String Web: Look at some real webs or pictures of webs and observe how they are constructed.
Go outside and use twigs and string to build a web. (See diagram *)
Circle Time Spider Web: Hand a ball of wool to one student and have them toss it to another student.
Holding the wool firmly, that student tosses it to another child. Repeat until everyone has had a turn.
Place a toy spider on the web. Can one child become an insect caught in the web? There challenge is to
try to walk through the gaps in the web to the other side of the web, without knocking or rocking the spider.
Paper craft spider webs sites.
Go to: for a paper idea.
Capturing Spiders Web
Image from From en:Image:Dewy_spider_web.jpg, by en:User:Fir0002 zpd.jpg Jon Sullivan. Author Harvey Barrison from Massapequa, NY, USA httpFile:Sabi_2012_05_18_0507_(7375035458).jpg?uselang=en-gb