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

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

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  • Green Wilma is missing!: This lesson is designed to be used after students have been exposed to animal classification, especially the characteristics of amphibians. Reading Green Wilma by Tedd Arnold and inviting students to respond through art and written expression is a good use of integration.

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Learning outcomes

Students will be able to identify the body parts and functions of arachnids. They will also be able to classify arachnids by their distinguishing characteristics.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

2 hours


  • Spiders by Gail Gibbons
  • Zoobooks: Spiders
  • construction paper, scissors, glue
  • different colored index cards
  • bulletin board sized web
  • large picture of spider or board on which to draw the parts
  • “captured” web or materials to capture real web—construction paper, plastic wrap, hair spray, tape

Technology resources

  • Internet accessible computer if use of web site is desired.


Begin spider (arachnid) unit by making a KWL chart in the form of a bulletin board web. (KWL lists what students know; what they want to know and what they learned.) Color code the information—things students know on one color index card, questions or what they want to learn on a second. Read Spiders by Gail Gibbons, which is a general fact book.


  1. Review with students the questions from their web (the “What do you want to know?”) that relate to spider bodies.
  2. Read the portions of Zoobooks: Spiders that relate to body parts and functions.
  3. Discuss distinguishing characteristics and classify arthropods such as spiders, dust mites, and scorpions according to their body parts.
  4. Explain the two large groups of spiders—wandering and web building.
  5. Use individual pictures of spiders to help students classify various spiders and discuss their interesting features.
  6. Use a large poster or drawing on the board to help students identify the body parts common to all spiders. This can also be done with a flannel board. Make the body parts of different colors and explain each function as you put it on the board with a label.
  7. Discuss the functions of each part and how and why it differs for the two groups of spiders.
  8. Display a real web captured by spraying it with hair spray and then lifting onto dark construction paper and wrapping it in plastic wrap. Provide pairs of students with the equipment to capture their own webs and allow them time to locate and capture some.
  9. Discuss the locations of the webs captured and reasons for this.
  10. Students will cut out construction paper spiders to glue on large construction paper. Students then label each body part and write spider facts with their spider creations.
  11. Students can then work in cooperative groups to create a song about the spider facts learned to this point—body parts and functions, groups of spiders etc. They can use the tune of “London Bridge” or “Frere Jacques” or any other they wish.


For evaluation, teachers will:

  • Check the accuracy of the labeling and facts written by each student.
  • Evaluate the cooperative group work on the basis of accurate information and ability to work together.
  • Examine a T-graph or Venn diagram comparing the two large groups of spiders. This can be done individually or as a group with teacher using the overhead or chart to record student generated facts.

For the unit, assessment will include completing the KWL web with the learned information. This can be done individually first. Then, using the information on their sheets, students will come to a consensus regarding what information to put on the large board.

Supplemental information


This is part of a week long integrated unit focusing on spider facts and Anansi spiders in African Literature. The unit involves music, visual arts, language arts, math, science and social studies. It was taught to a multiage class of first and second graders.

  • 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...
      • Grade 2

        • 2.L.1 Understand animal life cycles. 2.L.1.1 Summarize the life cycle of animals: Birth Developing into an adult Reproducing Aging and death 2.L.1.2 Compare life cycles of different animals such as, but not limited to, mealworms, ladybugs, crickets, guppies...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

Science (2005)

Grade 2

  • Goal 1: The learner will conduct investigations and build an understanding of animal life cycles.
    • Objective 1.01: Describe the life cycle of animals including:
      • Birth.
      • Developing into an adult.
      • Reproducing.
      • Aging and death.