ABC and 123: A Learning Collaborative: Teaching with Ticia: insects

Monday, March 21, 2011

Teaching with Ticia: insects

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I almost forgot to write my post for today, but realized I better get that done.

Here in Texas, Spring is in full swing.  Trees are blooming, birds are chirping, and insects are starting to come out.

I know most of us traditionally get caterpillars about now and watch them turn to butterflies.  I'd like to suggest an alternative, or additional study:


Why crickets you might ask?

1.  They're part of Eric Carle's insect books, so you're probably going to already have a literature tie-in.

2.  You can pick up about 50 of them for $2.00 at a pet store.

3.  They're fascinating to study.

4.  There are a lot of experiments you can do with them.

Here's a few that we did:

1.  Straight observation, it's fascinating to watch them and write down what you see, some of ours:

They can walk up the walls.
They make noise.
They climb on each other.

2.  Check their reactions to different temperatures.  Watch how active they are at different temperatures.  First check room temperature, then put them in the refrigerator and see how much they move around in there.  Next, see how long it takes for them to become more active.  And finally if it's warmer outside, then you can take them outside to see how active they are.

3.  A secondary one to go with the temperature is to record how often they chirp at different temperatures.  They tend to chirp more if it is warmer.  They also get pretty noise at night.

4.  Observe what type of mouth they have.  Insects have 3 different types of mouths, chewing, sucking, and lapping.

5.  What do they eat?  The suggestions I saw was to put dry dog food soaked in water.  You could try different kinds of dog food and cat food to see which they eat the most of.  As a warning, they will eat their each other, so if your kids might be squeamish about that, take the dead out immediately.

Of course, even better than buying crickets from the store is catching them.  Texas in the fall is teeming with them, but at that point in time I'm so grossed out by them that I'm not willing to do this experiment then.


  1. I remember catching crickets as a kid and keeping them as pets. Our basement was full of them!

  2. Great idea :) Do you just release then when you are done? And, they will survive? I think this is a really neat idea I'd be interested in doing when it gets a bit warmer here.

  3. I have to buy crickets each week for our pet tree frogs. Karen

  4. I released them when we were done studying them. We walked down to a park.