Insect or Arachnid?


Do tiny creatures that creep, crawl, buzz, and fly around your head bug you? Use Crayola Dry-Erase Markers to demonstrate your insect-elligence.


1. Although they both have exoskeletons (hard skeleton on the outside of their bodies), segmented bodies, and jointed legs, spiders and insects are very different species. Read books---such as "Everything Bug: What Kids Really Want to Know About Insects and Spiders" by Cherie Winner or "Simon and Shuster Children's Guide to Insects and Spiders" by Jinny Johnson---to learn about differences between the species.

2. Notice that spiders have two body parts and insects have three. Observe the eight simple eyes on spiders and the two compound eyes on insects. Did you see that spiders have no antennae, while insects have two? Almost everyone knows that insects have three pairs of legs, while spiders have four. With Crayola Colored Pencils, jot down other interesting facts as you discover them.

3. Cut paper into slips with Crayola Scissors. Write your favorite fun facts, one per slip. Place papers from everyone in the class into a container such as a recycled box.

4. At the top of a large dry-erase board, use Crayola Dry-Erase Markers to draw an accurate illustration of a spider and an insect. Draw a line under the illustrations and a line between them, extending the full length of the board.

5. One student at a time pulls a fact from the container and reads it. Together, decide whether the statement refers to spiders or insects. As each fact is read, write the characteristic or place a tally mark under the appropriate bug. Stack the facts into a spider pile and an insect pile. When you are finished reading all the facts, the tally mark counts under each bug should match the numbers in each pile. Before you know it, you'll all be bug experts!

Safety Guidelines

Adult supervision is required for any arts & crafts project. Observe children closely and intervene as necessary to prevent potential safety problems and ensure appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Some craft items, particularly beads and buttons, are potential choking hazards for young children. Avoid use of such small parts with children younger than 3 years. Craft items such as scissors, push pins and chenille sticks may have sharp points or edges. Avoid use of materials with sharp points by children younger than 4 years. Read all manufacturers' safety warnings before using arts and craft supplies.

Scissors—ATTENTION: The cutting edges of scissors are sharp and care should be taken whenever cutting or handling. Blunt-tip scissors should be used only by children 4 years and older. Pointed-tip scissors should be used only by children 6 years and older.


  • Prepare an insect/arachnid research area in the classroom. Include actual insect/spider specimens, photos, illustrations, and books, such as the series by Judy Allen titled "Are You a …?"
  • Create an interactive bulletin board. With classmates, brainstorm names of spiders and insects. Work together to complete a mural including grass, bushes, trees, and sky. Add spider webs, flowers, and other details. Choose a bug from the list to draw and color. Attach little flags with names of insects along with hook and loop fastener tape in appropriate spots on the mural. Attach the other side of the fastener tape on the back of each insect and spider. Cut out bugs and place them in a basket near the bulletin board. Match bugs with their labels.
  • Create simple board games in which spiders mature, complete a web, and catch a meal; or insects move through the stages of metamorphosis to become an adult. Include perils such as torn webs, cocoons knocked down by storms, or caterpillars eaten by birds. Add positive occurrences such as plenty of food, good weather, and sheltered habitats. Trade and play games as a culminating activity.
  • Assessment: Have students cut or tear out brightly colored construction paper shapes and glue on black construction paper to create a new species of insect or arachnid. Ask students to include all necessary body parts, accurately assembled and labeled. Name the new bug species.

Related Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

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crayola supplies
  • Colored Pencils
  • Dry-Erase Markers
  • Pointed Tip Scissors
household supplies
  • white paper
  • dry-erase board



  • Grades 1 to 3


  • Science
  • Visual Arts


  • 30 to 60 minutes


  • Students compare and contrast the characteristics of insects and arachnids through research, observation, and discussion.

  • Students write accurate statements describing insect and arachnid life cycles and anatomies.

  • Students listen as each description is read aloud and respond by classifying each fact into an insect or arachnid category.


Research Canada Standards
Research UK Standards
Research U.S. Standards