Your students will learn a lot when they observe ladybugs in this fun lesson plan. This a great activity to use with your science notebooks or journals.
A book about ladybugs
Chart paper and markers
Live ladybugs, one per student or pair of students (You can usually find them at nurseries during the spring.)
Clear, plastic cups
Hand lenses, one per student
Pencils and crayons
Read your students a nonfiction book about ladybugs. A few good choices are Are You a Ladybug? by Judy Allen, Ladybugs: Red, Fiery, and Bright by Mia Posada or Ladybugs by Claire Llewellyn and Barrie Watts. Discuss the body parts of ladybugs (head, thorax and abdomen) and the characteristics that make them insects - six legs, wings, three body parts, etc. Show your students examples of some of the body parts in pictures in the book.
Tell your students that they are going to observe their own real ladybugs. Give each student a ladybug in a plastic cup and a hand lens. You may want to have them work in pairs if you need them to share supplies. Show them how to carefully handle the insects and to use their hand lenses to observe them. Encourage the students to look for as many body parts as they can to observe how the ladybugs move and what the look like.
After they have been given time to observe, have them draw a diagram of their ladybugs in their science notebooks or on blank paper. Tell them to label as many body parts as they can. They can also label other things they see like the spots.
When everyone is finished, bring the students together to discuss what they noticed when were observing their ladybugs. Ask them what parts they could find and what other things they ;earned about the insects. Write the students observations on chart paper and then with the students' help draw and label a ladybug diagram on chart paper.
When you are finished with the ladybugs, take them outside and release them in a flower bed or in the bushes.
Look at the students' diagrams. Notice how many body parts they drew and labeled and if they did so correctly.