APRIL 15, 2013

Insects & Small Animals in the
Classroom
Why…
…should insects and small animals be included in the
classroom?
 Insects are an integral part of the world around us,
children are likely to see them outside the
classroom
 Children develop strong feelings about insects and
small animals very early in life. By including these
small beings in the classroom, we can encourage a
positive view on insects and small animals.
 Through the presence of insects and small animals
in the classroom, children are able to explore not
only science, but also math, language, emotions,
and motor development.

In the Curriculum

In the Classroom (or at Home!)

Science and Math:
 Having insects and/or small animals in the
classroom provides prime opportunity to go through
the steps of the scientific process
 The students can gather data and create charts and
graphs about the growth of the insects or small
animals
 Exploration of what it means to be living
 Children will learn about what living beings need in
order to survive
 Explore how animals and their environments work
together as a system
Language and Literacy:
 Through the presence of insects or small animals in
the classroom, children will learn key vocabulary
such as: compare, contrast, classify, measurement,
environment, insect, bug, arachnid, beetle
 The students will have the opportunity to record their
observations
Emotional Development:
 Through interactions with the insects or small
animals, some children may discover that they either
do not like or fear these creatures. This will open up
discussions about:
o Identifying emotions
o How to handle these emotions
o How to productively encourage classmates
Physical Development: The children will develop the fine
motor skills for handling small animals

When choosing the type of insects or small
animals it is important to remember…
 To use insects or small animals that are
native to the local area. Why? These are
the insects and small animals that the
children are most likely to encounter on
their own. Also, if the insects and small
animals need to be set free at the end of
the year, non-native animals could upset
the ecosystem of the area.
 Insects such as ants are difficult for the
children to have hands on experiences
with and can create problems if they
escape in the classroom.
 Insects or small animals that will
experience obvious changes during its
time in the classroom will be most
interesting to the children (such as a
caterpillar turning into a butterfly)
The presence of insects and small animals in the
classroom is a great opportunity to bring in local
farmers or gardeners, or someone from a local
botanical garden. It would also be a good time to
take a field trip to a local farm, garden, or botanical
garden.
The children can build their very own small animal
or insect habitat (called a vivarium). Example:
Snails can live in a clear glass jar with:
holes in the lid, damp soil, and decaying
debris

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