Catching Critters

Many elementary school children love catching bugs or small aquatic life.Catching critters is a great activity
for students from Grades One to Six.Specimen can be easily obtained from school grounds or small ponds nearby.A walk outdoors during the springis a wonderful way to get children active and burning off some energy, allowing them to be able to focus better for the remainder of the day.Studying these creatures is not only interesting but can also be valuable in the teaching of a number of science concepts.

Needs of Living Things

For this topic, teach the students the basic needs of living things prior to specimen collection.Then have students collect the critters, along with a small portion of their natural habitat.Students can research their critters on the Internet or in books in order to determine what they eat.These little creatures can be kept in the classroom for a number of days or weeks for observation.Students may work individually or in groups for this project.The objective is to try to keep the critters alive by providing for their needs.

Life Cycles

For this unit, a teacher may teach life cycles prior to collection or may have students learn about the life cycle by observing the organisms.

Have students sketch each stage of the life cycle in a notebook or on papers that are then stapled together.For the cover of this booklet, the student should draw the life cycle using the classic representation, drawn in a clockwise circle with arrows pointing from stage to stage.All drawing should be done in pencil.These drawings can then be outlined with a thin black marker, such as a Sharpe.Drawings may also then be colored using pencil crayons.Students should be instructed to make their sketches as life-like as possible.A great way to make use of these booklets is to have students share them with their reading buddies.(Many classes have a partner class with which they get together weekly.These reading buddies may be either older or younger students.)

The teacher may also want to photograph the stages and make a large life cycle display on a bulletin board.


Collection and storage equipment will be necessary.Typically included are nets, pails, and clear jars/containers with lids.It can also be valuable to have magnifying glasses on hand so that the children can get a closer look at the critters.

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