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Lesson Plan #:AELP-ENT001
Submitted by: Rosina L. Phillips, Sierra Vista Elementary, Las Vegas, New Mexico
Endorsed by: These lesson plans are the result of the work of the teachers who have attended the Columbia Education Center’s Summer Workshop. CEC is a consortium of teacher from 14 western states dedicated to improving the quality of education in the rural, western, United States, and particularly the quality of math and science Education. CEC uses Big Sky Telegraph as the hub of their telecommunications network that allows the participating teachers to stay in contact with their trainers and peers that they have met at the Workshops.
Date: May 1994

Grade Level(s): 3, 4, 5


  • Science/Entomology

OVERVIEW: Not all insects eat the same foods. Some like to eat the leafy parts of vegetables and some like the roots. Some insects prefer other insects! In this activity students will construct an insect diner and serve food samples to the invited insects. PURPOSE: Because of existing environmental conditions and pesticides being used, it is important that students learn that there is a natural way to control insects in a garden.


Students will be able to:

1. Identify 10 common garden insects.
2. Identify 3 garden plant leaves.
3. Identify 3 garden plant roots.
4. Demonstrate the feeding preferences of some common garden insects.
5. Identify insects they would encourage or discourage to be in their garden.


1. 10 plastic petri dish covers.
2. 10 garden insects.
3. 3 plant leaves from garden.
4. 3 plant stems from garden.
5. Journals.
6. Jar with air holes.

1. Collect a variety of plant leaves and roots from the garden.
2. The day before activity, collect a variety of common garden insects, place in a jar with air holes. DO NOT FEED.
3. Turn each of the petri dishes upside down. Place 3 leaf and 3 root samples around the edge of each dish. It is important that they be the same size in order to get accurate results. Label the samples.
4. The diner is now open for lunch. Choose one of the insects from the jar. Place the insect in the petri dish. Observe the insect every 2-3 hours to see what the insect is munching. Record the results in your journal.
5. Repeat the activity with other insects. Record the results in your journal.
6. Students may also place two insects in each petri dish to observe if preference in diner may be another insect.

TYING IT ALL TOGETHER: If insects eat the same plants that we eat, we wouldn’t want them in the garden eating our food. If they did not like a plant, could you use it to protect the plants we eat? Were there insects that ate plants we do not want in the garden? If there are insects that eat other troublesome insects, can we find a way to encourage them to stay in the garden?