Paso Partners - Integrating Mathematics, Science, and Language: An Instructional Program Purchase a print copy of Paso Partners
Introduction Grade K Lessons Grade 1 Lessons Grade 2 Lessons Grade 3 Lessons Bibliography
Table of Contents
Lesson Overview
Teacher Background Information
Lesson Focus
Objective Grid
Lesson 1: Spiders! Scary or Nice?
Lesson 2: Spiders Have Special Characteristics
Lesson 3: Spiders Catch Prey
-Spider Venom
-A Spider's Breakfast
-Catch A Fly
-Spider Fun
Lesson 4: The Spider's Life Cycle
Lesson 5: Spiders Have Natural Enemies
Lesson 6: Spiders Live Everywhere
Lesson 7: Now We Know Spiders!
Spanish Language Translations

Spiders - Lesson 3: Spiders Catch Prey
ACTIVITY: Spider Venom

Before performing this experiment the students discuss snakes having a poison similar to spider's venom. Discuss ways to avoid danger of being bitten by spiders. After the discussion, the students perform the spider's venom experiment (sugar cubes and water); use pictures of/or dead black widows or brown recluse spiders.

Students observe a simulation of the effect of a spider's venom on its prey.

One styrofoam cup per group
One sugar cube per group
Very warm water


  1. Give each group a cup with several sugar cubes in the bottom. Explain that cubes are like the inside of an insect's body -- hard!
  2. Have children pour a few drops of water onto the cubes. What happens? The water dissolves the sugar cubes just as the spider's venom dissolves the insect's body when the spider spreads venom into the insect's body. Because a spider can turn its food to liquid, it can eat without chewing!
  3. Discuss how people's diets would change if we didn't have teeth.
Because the spider can only digest fluid food, predigestion must take place outside the spider's body. Some people believe that spiders suck blood; this is not correct. Spiders inflict a wound with their fangs and, through the wound, inject digestive enzymes into the wound to liquefy the tissues of their prey. Then the spider pumps the insect dry, leaving nothing but an empty shell behind.

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