Mrs. Terracciano's Students Become Spider Experts

Mrs. Terracciano's Students Become Spider Experts
Student with spider

To some children, spiders and other creepy crawlies might bring about a shriek. Yet to students in Mrs. Terracciano’s class, insects and arachnids have inspired a great deal of inquiry and investigation.

 The class spent several weeks of the spring studying insects, and students soon developed an interest in spiders. The children learned that spiders are related to scorpions since both species are arachnids. 

Student had many good questions, including ‘why do insects get stuck in the web but the spiders do not?” Mrs. Terracciano simulated a spider web with a hula hoop and masking tape, inviting students to throw cotton balls to try to stick them to the web. Students learned that insects have three body parts and spiders have two; a spider’s head and thorax are combined into one part called a cephalothorax.

The inquiry changed some fears about arachnids. At the beginning of the unit, the class graphed how many classmates were afraid of spiders. Ten students admitted to being afraid, but by the end of the unit, only four students remained scared of the critters.  

The class even welcomed a guest entomologist – Scott William Garafano of the Griggs & Browne Pest and Termite Control Services - to share more information and answer questions about insects and spiders. Adult and students look through glasses that show how an insect views the world.

The insect inquiry tied into what has become an annual event for the school – the butterfly release. Students throughout the school have been observing and documenting the life cycle of a butterfly using magnifying glasses, drawing and labeling their observations. In late May, the butterflies hatched, with the students witnessing them emerging from chrysalises. The whole school then released the butterflies on Monday, May 21, celebrating with songs and fun.

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