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
Lesson 4: The Spider's Life Cycle
-Spider Minibook
-Spider Life Cycle
Lesson 5: Spiders Have Natural Enemies
Lesson 6: Spiders Live Everywhere
Lesson 7: Now We Know Spiders!
Spanish Language Translations

Spiders - Lesson 4: The Spider's Life Cycle

On this page
- Encountering the Idea
- Exploring the Idea
- Getting the Idea
- Organizing the Idea
- Closure and Assessment
- List of Activities for this Lesson

BIG IDEAS:Spiders have a life cycle, and reproduce by laying many eggs. We can count by ones, twos, fives, or as many as we want.

Whole Group Work Materials

  • Book: Spider Magic by D.H. Patent.
  • Life-cycle sequence cards (to cut out and use in a variety of activities: pictures of spider eggs in the egg sacs; spiderlings molting in order to grow; adults dying or being eaten as part of the food cycle)
  • Collection of live insects such as flies and others that can serve as food for the spiders
  • Chart
  • Word tags: ballooning, habitat, life cycle, molting

Encountering the Idea

We have been collecting and observing spiders for several days now. Have any of our spiders died? Yes, some of them have died, but we keep on bringing new ones into our vivarium. New spiders have to be born, otherwise we would run out of spiders, and we have many of them all the time. Where do new spiders come from? Yes! Spiders come from eggs. Have you seen any of our spiders with eggs? Where are the eggs? Have you seen them through the magnifying glass? In this lesson we will discover many new things about the life and death of spiders.

Exploring the Idea

The teacher reads the book, Spider Magic, about the life cycle of spiders. What are the two ways that animals are born? Animals either hatch from an egg or else they are born from their mother when they can live on their own, like kittens or puppies. How are spiders born? Yes, spiders hatch from eggs. At the Science Center:
  1. Complete Activity - Spider Egg Sacs, as below.
      white tissue paper; water; yarn or string; tacks; lentils, linking cubes, sugar cubes, lima beans
      Students roll out tiny spider "eggs" out of wet, white tissue paper.
      Students put the "eggs" into a small piece of tissue paper about two inches
  2. Students review the concept of ballooning by playing with the spiderlings they constructed in the Art Center.
  3. Complete Activity - Spider Life Cycle.
At the Drama Center:
The students working in pairs or small groups select a favorite spider, dress to resemble that spider using brown paper bags on which they have drawn the spider's features, and act out a scene.

At the Writing Center, students

  1. write at least two things in their journals on the life cycle of the spider.
  2. describe spiders, their habitats and life cycle using number words, geometric (shapes) descriptions, and the new vocabulary words.
  3. use life-cycle sequence cards to construct a book. Students dictate the life cycle to the teacher who writes it on cards, and then the students sequence the cards.
At the Art Center, students
  1. color the paper bags showing the spider features for the Drama Center.
  2. construct a spider life cycle cap (use ordinal numbers to name the steps, from one to five or six different steps in the spider's life cycle). A spider cap is made of a circular headband, the length of each student's head, and about two inches wide, decorated with pictures depicting the life cycle of spiders. Make a large paper spider outline cutout to form the crown of the cap and glue the legs of the spider to the headband.
At the Mathematics Center:
Students estimate, then count, the number of spiderlings that can fit into a spider egg sac. Next, use lima beans to put into the sac to simulate spider eggs; estimate how many can fit, then count. Do the same thing with lentils, linking cubes, sugar cubes or other small objects. Simulate different-size sacs with socks, plastic bags, or other types of material that can hold beans or cubes. Again, students estimate and count.

Getting the Idea

After students have had an opportunity to complete their activities in the centers, discuss the following ideas: What is a life cycle? What does the word "cycle" mean? Yes, like a bicycle, it is something that is in a circle. A life cycle means that animals, and plants also, live in a cycle. They are born, become adults, reproduce or make new animals or plants, and then they die. Although the adults die after they have reproduced, there are more new animals all the time. Living organisms preserve themselves in this manner all the time. When all the animals of one kind die out and no new ones are born, we say that animal has become extinct. We don't know if any types of spiders have become extinct, but we know that the spider is certainly not on the endangered species list. There are too many of them to become extinct, and they have learned to adapt themselves to their environment. They will always survive.

All animals need a place to be born and to live. The place where animals are born, live and die is called a habitat. It is very similar to the Spanish word, habitación. Spiders have habitats where they are born and where they live. Different spiders have different habitats. The habitats are different because the places where spiders live are very different. The spiders have to use what is around them in their environment to make their habitats. Describe some of the habitats you have learned about from the books you have read and looked at.

(Pause for students to give oral reports of the results of their activities.)

New spiders hatch from eggs. How many eggs does a female spider lay? Yes, spiders lay many, many eggs. When the eggs hatch the new spiders are called spiderlings. What are two things that new spiders can do as soon as they are born? (Pause to allow for student responses.) Yes, they can spin silk and they can catch and eat prey.

As a whole group, the students write a cinquain expressing their feelings about spiders.

Example Cinquain - one formula

1st line - 1 word	-name of animal			Tarantula
2nd line - 2 words	-describe animal		Black, hairy
3rd line - 3 words	-describe actions of animal	Hiding, hunting, jumping
4th line - 4 words	-describe feelings		Scared stiff, can't look
5th line - 5 words	-group animal belongs to	Spider

Organizing the Idea

  1. Working in small groups, students make two lists of animals on a chart one list of those that reproduce by laying eggs and the other of those that give live birth.
  2. Students draw and illustrate a story about a particular spider's life cycle.
  3. Students draw and illustrate a story about a particular spiderling and where and how it lives to become an adult.
  4. Students complete Activity - Spider Minibook.

Closure and Assessment

Oral Assessment
Assess mastery of the use of new language structures and vocabulary in the oral interviews.
  1. Are spiders and cats born the same way? Explain how each is born.
  2. Why do spiders build an egg sac?
  3. Describe ballooning. How is it used, and who uses it?
  4. Students explain why more lentils, for example, can fit in the egg sac than lima beans. What does "estimate" mean? Is it like a guess? How is it different from a guess, or is it the same? (An estimate is like a guess. In making an estimate, however, you might be using some information to help you narrow your guess down to just a few choices. In making a guess you might not use any information at all.)
Performance Assessment
Assess understanding of the Big Idea by assessing students' completion and quality of work on Activity - Spider Minibook, on the story of a spider or spiderling or on the life style cap.

List of Activities for this Lesson

  1. Spider Minibook
  2. Spider Life Cycle

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