Have You Seen an Arthropod Lately?

In their study of the life sciences, middle school students are making the transition from thinking strictly about individual organisms to developing an understanding of patterns of life found in ecosystems. The National Science Education Standards call for middle school students to analyze the internal structures, chemical processes, and common ancestry of all species, including the arthropods. This collection of web sites helps students to understand how arthropods as a group are alike, yet different, and how they manage to live together in their tiny world.

Arthropods in Their Microhabitats
Have your students get ready for a look at the world from an ant’s-eye-view! Students learn techniques for observing, identifying, and classifying arthropods within a microhabitat. Included in the seven lessons are instructions on how to build a Berlese funnel, how to trap ants for study, and how to make a simple net with fabric. Written for grades 6-10, these lessons are designed to showcase the diversity and variety of arthropods found living together in a given microhabitat.

The Wonderful World of InsectsNSDL Annotation
This site provides both general and in-depth coverage of a variety of arthropods. Students will be fascinated with the facts about insects: the largest and smallest, fastest and loudest, and most tolerant of cold or heat. Several pages are given over to discussing taxonomy, and a key to the orders of insects is included.

Amazing ArthropodsNSDL Annotation
Focusing on the Sonoran Desert, this activity is designed to help students identify arthropods found in Arizona: scorpions, ants, beetles, tarantulas, and millipedes. The activity includes background information and a student handout.

Ecology Explorers: Doing Science in Your SchoolyardNSDL Annotation
Students and teachers in the Phoenix, Arizona, area are given the opportunity to take part in real research led by scientists at this web site. Students learn to use data collection protocols, develop hypotheses, and carry out experiments as they study patterns in urban ecosystems.

We Need Your Help

We want and need your ideas, suggestions, and observations. What would you like to know more about? What questions have your students asked? We invite you to share with us and other readers by posting your comments. Please check back often for our newest posts or download the RSS feed for this blog. You can also request email notification when new content is posted (see right navigation bar).

Let us know what you think and tell us how we can serve you better. We want your feedback on all of the NSDL Middle School PortalNSDL Annotation publications. Email us at msp@msteacher.org.