K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education


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Learning outcomes

The students will use what they learn about insects to create their own insect book.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

5 days


  • How Many Bugs in a Box? by David A. Carter
  • individual student books (with pre-typed sentence pattern)
  • crayons
  • pencils
  • chart paper
  • markers
  • number word chart
  • dry erase board

Technology resources

A computer with Kid Pix software


  • Read the story How Many Bugs in a Box? to the students.
  • Read the story a second time encouraging the students to read along. Review information that has been studied in science about insects. Review number words: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, and ten. (I use a number word chart.)


  1. The students and teacher will read the story How Many Bugs in a Box? together.
  2. The class will take a nature walk around the school searching for places where insects could be living.
  3. Students will help the teacher develop a circle map focusing on places around the school where they could find insects.
  4. The teacher will create the circle map on the dry erase board.
  5. Students will create their own circle maps on the computer focusing on places around the school where they could find insects.
  6. Students will draw a circle map on the computer using Kid Pix.
  7. Students will stamp pictures in the circle map of areas of the school where insects could live.
  8. Students will label the pictures that they stamped by typing the text.
  9. Print each student’s circle map and give to him or her.
  10. Students will dictate to the teacher the names of insects that they have studied during the science unit on insects. The teacher will list these insects on large chart paper. (The teacher may illustrate each insect - looking at parts of insects: three body parts, six legs, etc.)
  11. Students will help the teacher create a bubble map using descriptive words for insects on large chart paper.
  12. Students and teacher will create a class book of the story using the pattern found in the book. The teacher will model writing using information from the circle map, insect chart, and bubble map.
  13. Student volunteers will illustrate the pages of the class book.
  14. The class big book How Many Insects Are On the Playground? will be published in class.
  15. The teacher will give each student a book with the story pattern written for them: How many insects are on the ________? ____________ ___________ __________.
  16. Students will create their own books using the information from the chart, maps, and class book.
  17. Students will prepare their books using pages with the pre-typed pattern. They will use the information from the class book, circle map, and number word chart to complete the pattern: How many insects are on the____? (number word) (describing word) (insect).
  18. Students will illustrate pages and write the words to complete the story.
  19. Students will design a cover, write a title, and publish their books in class.
  20. Students will read their books to class members and student buddies from another grade level.


  • teacher observation
  • monitoring students as they write their books
  • listening to students read their books
  • oral responses to questions during discussion
  • student drawings of insects
  • observation of students during computer lab
  • circle maps created by students on the computer

Supplemental information



I usually spend about two weeks on insect activities. This activity serves as a culminating lesson for the unit. We work on this lesson several times a day integrating writing, math, art, science, and technology.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Writing

        • Grade 1
          • 1.W.7 Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., explore a number of “how-to” books on a given topic and use them to write a sequence of instructions).

    • Mathematics (2010)
      • Grade 1

        • Number & Operations in Base Ten
          • 1.NO.1 Count to 120, starting at any number less than 120. In this range, read and write numerals and represent a number of objects with a written numeral.
      • Kindergarten

        • Counting & Cardinality
          • K.CC.1Count to 100 by ones and by tens.
          • K.CC.3Write numbers from 0 to 20. Represent a number of objects with a written numeral 0-20 (with 0 representing a count of no objects).

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Science (2010)
      • Grade 1

        • 1.L.1 Understand characteristics of various environments and behaviors of humans that enable plants and animals to survive. 1.L.1.1 Recognize that plants and animals need air, water, light (plants only), space, food and shelter and that these may be found...
        • 1.L.2 Summarize the needs of living organisms for energy and growth. 1.L.2.1 Summarize the basic needs of a variety of different plants (including air, water, nutrients, and light) for energy and growth. 1.L.2.2 Summarize the basic needs of a variety of different...
      • Kindergarten

        • K.L.1 Compare characteristics of animals that make them alike and different from other animals and nonliving things. K.L.1.1 Compare different types of the same animal (i.e. different types of dogs, different types of cats, etc.) to determine individual differences...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Computer Technology Skills (2005)

Grade 1

  • Goal 2: The learner will demonstrate knowledge and skills in the use of computer and other technologies.
    • Objective 2.05: Locate and use letters, numbers, and special keys (e.g., arrow keys, space bar, insert Enter/Return, Backspace, Delete) on the keyboard. Strand - Keyboard Utilization/Word Processing/Desk Top Publishing

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 1

  • Goal 2: The learner will develop and apply strategies and skills to comprehend text that is read, heard, and viewed.
    • Objective 2.03: Read and comprehend both fiction and nonfiction text appropriate for grade one using:
      • prior knowledge.
      • summary.
      • questions.
      • graphic organizers.
  • Goal 4: The learner will apply strategies and skills to create oral, written, and visual texts.
    • Objective 4.03: Use specific words to name and tell action in oral and written language (e.g., using words such as frog and toad when discussing an expository text).
    • Objective 4.05: Write and/or participate in writing by using an author's model of language and extending the model (e.g., writing different ending for a story, composing an innovation of a poem).

Mathematics (2004)

Grade 1

  • Goal 1: Number and Operations - The learner will read, write, and model whole numbers through 99 and compute with whole numbers.
    • Objective 1.01: Develop number sense for whole numbers through 99.
      • Connect the model, number word, and number using a variety of representations.
      • Use efficient strategies to count the number of objects in a set.
      • Read and write numbers.
      • Compare and order sets and numbers.
      • Build understanding of place value (ones, tens).
      • Estimate quantities fewer than or equal to 100.
      • Recognize equivalence in sets and numbers 1-99.

Science (2005)

Grade 1

  • Goal 1: The learner will conduct investigations and make observations to build an understanding of the needs of living organisms.
    • Objective 1.04: Identify local environments that support the needs of common North Carolina plants and animals.