During Memorial Day weekend, we gathered with extended family for our annual holiday/camping/family reunion in the mountains of Tennessee. While walking across one of the fields on Saturday, a group of us came across a very ugly insect struggling in the grass as it was molting. The weekend was full of other insect discoveries, as the children caught fireflies, moths, grasshoppers, and more, making summertime the perfect time for insect study.
In remote areas such as our campsite or in familiar areas such as your backyard and city park, your students can find six-legged creatures to catch, identify, and investigate. You can bring the insects home in a container, or you can have your child photograph them instead. Either way, you can use the opportunity to teach your child how to find out more about these animals.
There are many insect identification guides available, either in bookstores, online, or at your library. Some to look for include:
- Peterson First Guide to Insects of North America
- National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and SpidersKaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America
- National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Insects and Spiders and Related Species of North AmericaThe Illustrated World Encyclopedia of Insects
- Insects of North America (Science Nature Guides)
- Insects (Golden Guides)
- Garden Insects of North America: The Ultimate Guide to Backyard Bugs
If you don’t have time to visit the library, however, or you’d rather search the web, InsectIdentification.org is a great site for help identifying North American insects. You’ll find buttons on the navigation bar for all of the various types of insects as well as information regarding insect anatomy and mouthparts. My favorite feature, however, is the Bug Finder, a form in which you indicate the primary color, secondary color, and the state where the insect was found. After filling in all the fields and clicking on the “Search” button, you’re given a list of possible insects it might be. With just one try we found out what our ugly bug was: a dobsonfly.
So instead of swatting away those pesky bugs, have your children catch a few. The learning opportunities are endless.
Homeschooling Reading Curriculum by SmartTutor.com
Guest Blogger: Samantha Bell
Picture By: jurvetson