Not long ago, I wrote a post entitled “Teaching Kids Entomology While Hiking.” Because we share our world with millions of insects all around us, it’s important for our kids to learn about the benefits of bugs. Although insects are often considered a nuisance, they serve a very important role in our ecosystem.
Adam Zagajewski once wrote, “In summer the empire of insects spreads.” As summer approaches it’s a great time for homeschooling families to watch the wonder of bugs and learn about why God made them.
This summer teach kids about insects by sharing these six characteristics with them:
- Insects have three sections that help distinctly identify them from other creatures. The segments are head, thorax, and abdomen.
- Insects have compound eyes. Compound eyes are also called Arthropod eyes, which help insects see in multiple directions.
- They also have two antennae, which are movable organs that carry out different sensory functions for different insects.
- Insects have three pairs of legs.
- Just like reptiles, insects are exothermic, which means they are cold-blooded. Have you ever noticed that insects seem to disappear in the winter? Some insects migrate south like birds to stay warm. Other insects may die or temporarily freeze. When an insect lies dormant through the winter, it is considered a special type of hibernation during called “diapause.”
- One other interesting feature that insects possess is that they can molt. Molting is the shedding of their outer skin as it grows.
Feel free to download this original word search I created:
Insects are critically important in our environment because they help break down other organisms and make room for new ones. We can thank insects for our produce because many are master pollinators. We can also thank insects for cleaning up our waste and other decaying matter.
Purdue University asserts that…
Insects are underappreciated for their role in the food web. They are the sole food source for many amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Insects themselves are harvested and eaten by people in some cultures. They are a rich source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, and are prized as delicacies in many third-world countries (1).
If you’ve discovered that your child is completely enamored with bugs and nature, here are a few resources that you may want to incorporate in your lessons:
- How insects survive cold: The potential effect of a mild winter
- Amateur Entomologists’ Society
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Reader question: Name one characteristic about bugs that you find interesting and share why?
(1) “Who Let The Bugs Out? | Purdue | Entomology | Insect | Collect | Supplies | Specimen | Mounting | Identifying | Displaying | Preserve | Labels”. Extension.entm.purdue.edu. N.p., 2017. Web. 10 May 2017.