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Bugs and Insects


Education World's Great Sites for Teaching About ... page highlights Web sites to help educators work timely themes into their lessons. Internet educator Walter McKenzie selected the ten sites listed below, which are among the best on the Web for teaching about bugs and insects.

  1. Amateur Entomologist
    Welcome to an information-packed site dedicated to the study and preservation of moths and butterflies. What makes this site unique is that the creator is not just a fan -- she's a real collector! Readers share in a night's adventure as she offers an account of sugaring the Catocala moth. Her enthusiasm is contagious!

  2. Antlion Pit
    This fascinating site takes a close-up and personal look at the ant lion (or doodlebug), using Internet animation technologies to bring the topic to life. Kids will be fascinated as they address questions about whether ant lions even exist, how they live, what they look like, and much more. Video presentations of the ant lion's life cycle and how to catch an ant lion are sure to be favorites with young bug experts. The section on ant lion mythology holds lots of possibilities for language arts extensions!

  3. Ants! Stranger Than Fiction
    This site offers wonderful explanations about ants and ant colony life. The animated graphics capture the dynamics of an ant community. The site presents ants' amazing characteristics in a way that will excite elementary-age learners. Young readers will enjoy -- and remember -- some of the comparisons between ant and human behaviors! Links to additional resources help round out this great site.

  4. Class: Insecta
    The Spencer Entomological museum in Vancouver hosts this site on all things insect, with photos galore and information to match. The Insect Family Tree and Glossary -- found under Insect Lore -- are excellent student resources for middle and high school students. The Bug of the Month feature examines 12 fascinating insects up close and in detail. The site even includes a virtual tour of the museum for readers interested in learning how such a showcase of insects is set up.

  5. Katerpillars and Mystery Bugs
    This University of Kentucky site caters to elementary students looking for fun facts and hard information for insect research, and the treatment is very thorough. Consider the Bugfood section, which not only covers food named after bugs (for example, ants on a log) but also explores the use of insects as a food delicacy in cultures around the world. If that doesn't sound enticing, the Mystery Bug link will surely challenge both novice and expert; if you like the current mysteries, check out the archives for more bug identification practice!

  6. The Amazing World of Insects
    This site's fascination with bugs will be infectious! Among the features are charts documenting the order and classification of insects along with detailed descriptions of each. This site contains nearly 100 pages full of valuable information for insect study.

  7. Meet the Beetles
    The Java-based interactive puzzle is great for elementary students learning the physical characteristics of different beetles. Simply click on each section of the puzzle to change portions of the beetle until you have built a beetle matching one in the right-hand frame. Once students have completed a beetle, they can learn an interesting fact about the beetle too! This is a great activity for developing visual discrimination and critical thinking skills.

  8. Most Wanted Bugs
    OK, so not all bugs are fun and fascinating. Some are outright pests! Here, the fictitious Federal Bug Intelligence Agency lists the 12 most wanted pests from the insect world. The site includes posters with insect aliases and a highly detailed rap sheet full of scientific information. Slightly offbeat in its presentation, this site will engage students as they learn about insects that are harmful to humankind.

  9. Myrmecology
    Subtitled "the scientific study of ants," this page brings together a wealth of information on varieties of ants and the colonies they thrive in. Straightforward discussions of queens, nests, and behaviors are offered with excellent pictures. The presentation on observing ants -- with its specifics about procedures and materials used for ant study -- can be especially valuable to teachers and students.

Walter McKenzie
Education World®
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