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Lesson Plan #: AELP-ENT0203
Submitted by: Cara DiFrango
Email: ginkerbonkers@hotmail.com
School/University/Affiliation: University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
Endorsed by: Bernard Poole
             University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
Date: January 24, 2003

Grade Level: Preschool Education, Kindergarten


  • Science/Entomology
  • Language Arts/Literature/Children’s Literature
  • Arts

Duration: Two 30-minute sessions

Description: This lesson uses the story, Are You a Spider? , a finger play, and an art project to teach children about the parts of a spider.

Goals: National Science Education Standards (NSES) :
Life Science Content Standard C:

  • Organisms have basic needs. For example, animals need air, water, and food; plants require air, water, nutrients, and light. Organisms can survive only in environments in which their needs can be met. The world has many different environments, and distinct environments support the life of different types of organisms.
  • Each plant or animal has different structures that serve different functions in growth, survival, and reproduction. For example, humans have distinct body structures for walking, holding, seeing, and talking.


  • Students will be able to identify and describe the parts of a spider.
  • Students will be able to use modeling clay to create a model spider.
  • Materials:

    • Are You a Spider? by Judy Allen
    • Crayola Modeling Magic clay
    • access to an oven
    • paint
    • paintbrushes


  • cephalothorax – the head of a spider
  • abdomen – stomach
  • spinnerets – they are like fingers that help a spider spin a web
  • fangs – sharp teeth
  • Procedure:

    Day 1:
    How many of you have seen a spider? Can you tell me what the spider looked like? Today we are going to read a book, do a finger play, and make clay spiders while talking about the parts of a spider.

    Begin the lesson by reading Are You a Spider? [ Summary of book: Are You a Spider? describes the life cycle of a spider. It explains how a spider hatches, grows, eats, and spins its web.]

    After reading the story, have the students participate in a discussion about the book. Then, introduce the finger play, My Spider Ted: My Spider Ted (by Cara DiFrango and Lisa Mikolajczyk)

    I have a spider whose name is Ted. (use fingers to walk up and down your arms)
    He has a big body and a small head. (make large and small circles with arms)
    Eight legs allow him to walk around. (use fingers to walk up and down your arms)
    And when he moves, he doesn’t make a sound. (continue the previous movement)
    Well, how does he see? (shrug shoulders)
    He has lots of eyes to see you and me. (point to eyes, then yourself, and finally others)

    Discuss all of the parts that Ted had. Next, give each student some modeling clay and have them construct a spider based on the parts of the spider that were discussed.

    Day 2:
    Start the day by repeating the finger play, My Spider Ted. Next, show students pictures of spiders (from magazines, books, etc.) and then hand out the spiders that the students made yesterday that were baked in the oven. Hand out paint and paintbrushes to the students. Instruct the students to paint the spiders. After the paint is dry, each child will describe the parts of the spider by using the clay spiders that they made.

    Assessment: Did the students include all the parts of the spider on their clay spiders? Were the children able to use appropriate words for each part of the spider?

    Useful Internet Resource:
    * National Science Education Standards (NSES)

    Special Comments:

    Technology Integration Ideas:

  • Classroom with one computer with overhead projection: The teacher can create a PowerPoint presentation with pictures of spiders. The teacher can get the pictures from the following web site: http://tolweb.org/tree/eukaryotes/animals/arthropoda/
    . The slides would not have any words on them, just pictures.
  • Classroom with 4-6 computers plus a computer with overhead projection: Have students in small groups search the Internet for pictures of spiders. The teacher can give students a sheet of web sites to go to including: http://tolweb.org/tree/eukaryotes/animals/arthropoda/
    and http://www.xs4all.nl/~ednieuw/australian/Spidaus.html. Then students can compare and contrast the spiders based on the pictures they saw.
  • Computer lab with a computer for every student: Have the students use paint tools (such as found in Kid Pix ) to draw a picture of a spider, instead of making a clay spider. The students would be reminded of the various features that a spider has including many eyes, eight legs, and two body parts. After they are finished, they can print their drawings and share them with the class.