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The Beetle Book

A RIF GUIDE FOR COMMUNITY COORDINATORS


Themes: Nature, Insects
Book Brief: Become a coleopterist with this book

all about beetles!

Author and
Illustrator:
Steve Jenkins

TIME TO READ!
Before reading: There are probably more than a million species of beetles on the
planet. Let children learn more about these creepy crawlies by exploring this book
on their own or in a small group.

RELATED ACTIVITIES
BEETLEMANIA (AGES 5-12)

LIGHT IT UP (AGES 6-12)

Materials: 3 large and 1 small paper plates (per child),


paint or markers, scissors, brads, pipe cleaners, glue

Materials: flashlights, Morse code chart


(www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morse_code)

Decorate one large plate as the beetles body. Cut


two other large plates in half. Decorate two halves to
look like wings and two halves to look like the shell
of one of the beetles from the book. Using a brad,
attach halves to the body to make a shell and wings
that open and close. Cut the small plate in half and
decorate it as the beetles head; glue onto body.
Glue on pipe cleaners for antennae.

Fireflies flash their lights to


communicate with each other.
Ships also communicate with
each other by flashing lights
using Morse code. Using the
Morse code chart, write out
a short message. (A dot means
you flash the light quickly; a
dash means you leave the light
on longer.) Turn out the lights and
flash your message at a partner
with a flashlight. Did your partner
understand you? Switch places and
try again.

MEET THE BEETLES (AGES 5-12)


Materials: paper, markers or crayons
Thousands of new kinds of beetles are discovered
every year. Design your own
beetle! How does it sense
the world around it? What
does it eat? How does it
communicate? What special
adaptations does it have to
help it survive? Draw a
picture of your beetle and
give it a creative name!

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR
The Animal Book (2013)
Just a Second (2011)
My First Day (2013)

TECHNOLOGY LINK
Explore thousands of species of beetles online at
www.bugguide.net/node/view/60. Then learn
more about the all-important dung beetle at video.
nationalgeographic.com/video/kids/animals-petskids/bugs-kids/beetle-dung-kids.

The Beetle Book


A RIF GUIDE FOR EDUCATORS
Themes: Nature, Insects
Book Brief: Become a coleopterist with this book
all about beetles!
Author and Illustrator: Steve Jenkins

Content
Connections:
Science, Social
Studies, Art

TIME TO READ!
BEFORE WE READ,
LETS LOOK AT
The Cover: Have students
make predictions about
the book based on the title
and the cover illustration.
What kind of creature is on
the front cover? The back
cover?
The Pictures: Flip briefly through the pictures. Do
students think this is a fiction or a nonfiction text?
Why? What do students notice about the diversity
of the beetles pictured?

Prior Knowledge: Can students name different kinds


of beetles? Some common bugs students might not
think about are actually beetles, like ladybugs and
fireflies. Tell students that beetles are about 230
million years oldroughly as old as dinosaursand
that there are over 350,000 kinds of beetles that
we know about. Beetles live almost everywhere on
the planet, including in the desert. Brainstorm why
beetles have been so successful at surviving.
Vocabulary: Will vary from page to page.
Purpose for Reading: This book will work best in a
class library or at a work station. As students read,
they should think about what adaptations have helped
beetles thrive while other animals have died out.

LETS THINK ABOUT


Our Purpose: After students have explored the book, revisit the discussion about why beetles have survived for
so long. How have different kinds of beetles adapted to their environments?
Extending Our Thinking: What advantages might an insect like the beetle have over larger animals, like
dinosaurs? Why might it be easier for beetles to survive an extinction event? Some scientists think
that, in the distant future, humans will be gone and bugs will still be around. Do the students
agree? Why or why not?

NOTE TO EDUCATORS
u Extension Activities for Educators also available.

The Beetle Book


A RIF GUIDE FOR PARENTS AND FAMILIES
Themes: Nature, Insects
Book Brief: Become a coleopterist with this book
all about beetles!

Author and
Illustrator:
Steve Jenkins

TIME TO READ!
Before reading, build
background: There are over
350,000 kinds of beetles
that we know aboutcan
your child name a few?
Several common bugs, like
the ladybug and the firefly,
are actually kinds of beetles!
While reading, make comparisons: This book will
work best if you explore a few pages at a time.

As you read, compare the different kinds of beetles.


What do they have in common? What special
adaptations make them different?
After reading, ask questions:
u Which beetle is the scariest?
u Which beetle has the nicest shell?
u Which beetle looks the most dangerous?
u Have you seen any of these beetles?

RELATED ACTIVITIES
BEETLEMANIA
Materials: 3 large and 1 small paper plates, paint or
markers, scissors, brads, pipe cleaners, glue
Decorate one large plate as the beetles body. Cut
two other large plates in half. Decorate two halves to
look like wings and two halves to look like the shell
of one of the beetles from the book. Using a brad,
attach halves to the body to make a shell and wings
that open and close. Cut the small plate in half and
decorate it as the beetles head; glue onto body.
Glue on pipe cleaners for antennae.

BUG BITES
Ingredients: round crackers, fruits
and vegetables (apples, grapes,
olives, cherry tomatoes, etc.),
cheese
For once, you can enjoy having
a bug bite! Cut fruits, veggies,

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
OTHER BOOKS BY THIS AUTHOR
The Animal Book (2013)
Just a Second (2011)
My First Day (2013)

and cheese into small pieces. Arrange the pieces on


the cracker to make a beetle. Grape or cherry tomato
halves make perfect shells; decorate with
bits of cheese or other veggies.

MEET THE BEETLES


Using this book as a guide, go
on a nature walk in your yard
or in a nearby park. See how
many different kinds of beetles you can find. Draw a
picture of each beetle and record where you found it.
Be sure not to bother the insects you find!

TECHNOLOGY LINK
Explore thousands of species of beetles online at
www.bugguide.net/node/view/60. Then learn
more about the all-important dung beetle at video.
nationalgeographic.com/video/kids/animals-petskids/bugs-kids/beetle-dung-kids.

The Beetle Book


RIF EXTENSION ACTIVITIES FOR EDUCATORS
THINK-TAC-TOE ACTIVITY OPTIONS
u Individual students can choose an activity to complete.
u Student pairs or cooperative groups can work together on a choice of their own.
u Educator can assign an activity for an individual, pairs, or groups.

ANIMAL INSPIRATION
The Volkswagen Beetle got its name
from its round shape. Design your
own car inspired by an animal or
insect. Draw and label a picture of
your car. What special features does
it have to reflect the animal or insect?
Write a paragraph to explain your
design and your inspiration.

DEAR DIARY, P.U.!


Congratulationsyoure a stink
beetle! Write a diary entry about a
day in your life as the stinkiest bug
around. What do you do? Do you
have any friends? Do people run
when they see you coming? Are you
lonely? Are the other beetles mean
to you? Why dont you just take a
bath already?!

THE WEEEVILS
ARE COMING!
Research the boll weevil. How did it
affect Southern farmers? Why it is
dangerous when plants or animals
move or are brought to a new place?
Find at least 3 other examples of
invasive species. Where did they
invade? What happened? Try www.
fs.fed.us/research/invasive-species.

Engineering, Writing, Art

Writing, Science

Science, Social Studies, Technology

CHARTING IT OUT

SHARE THE LOVE

WHATS IN A NAME?

There are over 350,000 named


species of beetlesmore than any
other plant or animal. Look up at
least 5 other kinds of plants and
animals. How many species are
there? Make a graph showing your
results. How many more species of
beetles are there than other animals?

Uh-oh! Some of the other beetles are


upset that ladybugs and fireflies get
all the love! Write a letter to the
editor from one of the creepy
beetles explaining why other beetles
deserve love, too. Use facts from the
book as support.

Pick 3 beetles and write an acrostic


poem for each one. Use the letters in
each beetles name to write a word
or phrase that describes that beetle.

Math, Science

Writing, Science

Writing, Art, Science

A DUNG DEAL

BETTER LIVING
THROUGH BEETLES

HERCULEAN MATH

Ancient Egyptians worshiped the


dung (scarab) beetle; they thought
it rolled the sun across the horizon
each day. Why is the dung beetle so
important to modern life? How does
the dung beetle help fight global
warming? Research to find out.
Creatively, share your findings with
the class.
Writing, Science, Social Studies

Scientists have studied the


bombardier beetle to make better
valves. What else can we learn from
beetles? Pick one beetles adaptation.
How could humans learn from or use
this? Design a product using beetle
technology. Make a brochure
explaining your invention.
Engineering, Science, Writing

STEAM-THEMED: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math

Example: Bites people


Ugly (sometimes!)

Good for environment

Write at least 3 word problems using


the following facts:
The Hercules beetle can grow up to 7
inches long. Its horn can be 3 inches
long. The Hercules beetle can move
an object 850 times its own weight.
Trade problems with a partner and
solve!
Math, Writing

Related Interests