Contributor: Samantha Penna. Lesson ID: 11485

Do insects bug you? Or do you like to watch them while they keep busy as bees? Watch a fascinating video about the life of insects, create your own insect (on paper!) and see how cool they really are!


Life Science

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Have you ever eaten outside? What happened when you were trying to eat? Was there something flying around your food? What was it?

Insects are found just about everywhere on earth.

Some insects are harder to find than others, and some insects will drive you crazy while they buzz around your head! Can you think of some insects you have seen? Share a story about insects with your parent or teacher.

grasshopper and cicada

Insects all have similar things in common. In this lesson, you will learn about the common characteristics that make an insect an insect. You will learn how to identify insects in your home and in the wild!

Do you know who Iron Man is? If you don't, he is a Marvel superhero that has a robot suit! This robot suit keeps him safe from villains. Stormtroopers from Star Wars also have suits to protect them. Knights in shining armor from Medieval times also wore protective suits. All of these suits keep, or kept, the person inside safe. You can think of an insect's exoskeleton in the same way you think of Iron Man's suit.

An insect's exoskeleton is a hard shell that protects its body. An exoskeleton is like having a skeleton on the outside of the body! Every insect has an exoskeleton. This makes an insect an invertebrate, an animal that does not have a backbone. To learn more about invertebrates, check out the Elephango lesson found under Additional Resources in the right-hand sidebar.

butterfly and a bee

Check out some of the insects below. They all have something in common. Count the legs. Share your answer with your parent or teacher.

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How many legs do they have? That's right! They have six legs. All insects have six jointed legs. They use their legs for walking, running, jumping, swimming, climbing, and even catching prey.

All insects have one pair of antennae. Do you know what insects use their antennae for? Share your answer with a parent or teacher.

Insects use their antennae to find food and detect predators. Some male insects use their antennae to attract female insects as part of mating. Check out the antennae below. What kind of antennae would you want on your head? Why? Share your answer with your parent or teacher.

insect antennae

Image by L. Shyamal, via Wikimedia Commons, is licensed under the CC BY-SA 2.5 license.

All insects have bodies that are divided into three segments. The three segments are: head, thorax, and abdomen.

The head is an obvious one! It's just like your head except you don't have antennae, do you? An insect's head has a mouth, eyes, and antennae. Insects have compound eyes. This means their eyes have many repeating parts. The more repeating units they have, the better their vision is.

An insect's thorax has all six of the insect's legs attached to it.

Finally, the insect's abdomen is where the insect digests all of its food, and where its reproductive organs are found.

human and insect abdomen

Image by Pearson Scott Foresman, via Wikimedia Commons, has been released into the public domain.

What helps some insects fly? Tell your parent or teacher.

That's right! Their wings help them fly. Most insects have wings. They use their wings to fly. The majority of winged insects have two pairs of wings. Some insects, like flies, only have one pair of wings. Insects that have two pairs of wings include butterflies, dragonflies, honeybees, and moths. Would you like to have two pairs of insect wings? Why or why not? Discuss your answer with a parent or teacher.

dragonfly and butterfly

An insect goes through four stages called metamorphosis. This happens when an insect grows from an egg into an adult. Most insects lay eggs. An example of an insect that doesn't lay eggs is an aphid. Aphids have live babies. Otherwise, the majority of insects lay eggs.

  • First, baby insects start inside an egg.
  • The egg grows into a larva.
  • The larva grows into a pupa.
  • Finally, the pupa grows into an adult insect.
  • Check out the insect life cycle pictures below. Remember, this process is called metamorphosis.

ant life cycle

Image by Tate Holbrook, via Wikimedia Commons, is licensed under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license.

Great work! Tell your parent or teacher three interesting facts you learned about insects. Discuss what you have learned so far with your parent or teacher.

When you are finished, move on to the next section to continue learning about insects.

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