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University of Kentucky Department of Entomology

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Insects in the Classroom Lesson Plan No. 104


Prepared by Blake Newton, Extension Specialist

Activity Description

Internet or Library Research
Age Group: Can be adapted for elementary through high school.
Class Time: Initial discussion and preparation, one class period (55 minutes).


  1. Students will use the Internet and other resources to find insect common names that begin with each letter of the alphabet.

  2. Students will provide the Internet address, book title, or other resource from which each insect common name was found.

  3. Students will write a brief description of each insect, focusing on what the insect eats, where the insect lives, and what kind of immature form the insect has.

  4. Students will draw conclusions from the information that they gathered.

Academic Expectations

The above objectives fall under KERA's Science Academic Expectations:

  • 2.2 Identify, analyze, and use patterns such as cycles and trends to understand past and present events and predicting possible future events.
  • 2.3 Identify and analyze systems and the ways their components work together or affect each other.
  • 2.4 Use the concept of scale and scientific models to explain the organization and functioning of living and nonliving things and predict other characteristics that might be observed.
  • 2.5 Understand that under certain conditions nature tends to remain the same or move toward a balance.
  • 2.6 Understand how living and nonliving things change over time and the factors that influence the changes.


By finding insect names that begin with each letter of the alphabet and providing information for each of these insects, students can learn more about the diversity of organisms, characteristics of organisms, similarities and differences among organisms, lifecycles of organisms, food chains, and other important principles. The use of the Internet demonstrates the value of the web as a learning tool, and by providing relevant web addresses students develop an understanding of the importance of research documentation.

Some letters of the alphabet are challenging for this exercise: if extra assistance is needed, there are a couple of places on the net where you can find many insect common names at once:

(student handout)



NAMES (26 points; 1 point each):

Find 26 insect names, each beginning with a different letter of the alphabet. Find the names of specific insects. For instance: since there are lots of different kinds of butterflies, "butterfly" shouldn't be one of your 26 insects, but "monarch" or "eastern tiger swallowtail" would be acceptable. The Internet should be the easiest place to find these names, although other references may be used as well.

(26 points; 1 point for each insect):

Write a brief description of each insect. Provide at least the following information in just a few sentences:

  • What does this insect eat? Is it a pest?
  • Where does it live?
  • What do the babies look like? Are they like caterpillars, or do they look like smaller versions of the adults?

(26 points; 1 point for each insect)

Provide the web address (e.g., www.uky.edu/webpage.html) of the page where each insect name was found, or the title and the author of any book where the information was found. Find insect names from at least 10 different web sites or other resources.

(22 points)

Write a brief conclusion about your findings. Was it hard to find the names? Did most of the insects have young that were more like worms, or did more of them have young that looked like smaller versions of the adults? Did most of the insects eat plants? Did they eat other insects? Both?  Or maybe they ate something else.  What was the most unusual insect that you found?

Some places to get started:

"Teacher Bug" cartoon courtesy of C. Ware, copyright 1999

Document created: May 2001

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