Thursday, October 25, 2012

Spider Week!

This has been such a fun week in first grade! We have been exploring the world of spiders while addressing important state standards in science, literacy and writing. It's been so exciting that we may just have to extend "Spider Week" a bit longer!

We began our unit by sharing our schema (everything we already know) pertaining to spiders. 

Each day we revisit our chart and add new learning. We also add any misconceptions we had about spiders. The children are fascinated by this new vocabulary. Misconceptions are beliefs proven incorrect as the result of new learning. 

Our first Essential Question was, "How do spiders eat their prey?" Like all thorough scientists, we made predictions before our experiment. 

Some of our predictions:
"They swallow them whole."
"They catch them in their web, chew them up and swallow them."
"They poison them." 

For our experiment we used sugar cubes as our prey and water as our spider venom. We sprayed our venom on our prey and observed the results. The children were surprised to see the prey melt before their eyes. We then discussed that most spiders do not have teeth. So, they liquefy their prey before swallowing. We even got to eat the prey just like real spiders! 

Our next Essential Question was, "Why don't spiders stick to their webs?" 

Some predictions:

"They have very strong legs. So, they just pull them off as they walk."
"They don't walk on the part of the web that is sticky."
"The web is only sticky to the prey. The spider has special skin."

For this experiment we used masking tape as our web. We touched it with a dry finger (prey) and noticed it was very sticky. Then we wet our finger with oil and touched it again (spider). We observed that we no longer stuck to the web! Spiders have oil on their feet that keeps them from sticking.

Our next step was to learn about the parts of a spider. We made a few predictions about what various parts were used for, watched a short video and worked together to label a spider diagram. Then, students drew and labeled their own spiders. They were thrilled to confirm that most spiders do have 8 eyes! 

We will continue our spider study by learning about the life cycle of a spider, writing a "how to" guide on catching spiders and comparing various kinds of spiders.

In addition to our spider fun, we also had a great time with Book Buddies this week. A parent volunteer read the story "Skeleton Hiccups" to the Book Buddies (our class and Mrs. Tice's 2nd grade). Then, students worked with their buddies to build a skeleton out of Q-tips and write about how they would cure his/her hiccups!

We look forward to ending this great week with our Halloween party tomorrow. 
Have a BOO-tiful weekend! 

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