Welcome First Grade Entomologists

Have you ever wanted to have an Insect Collection? Using this site, you can create a virtual insect collection with insects from all over the world. This site connects teachers and students from around the world to investigate and share insects they have in their backyard.

Teachers and students will answer the following questions:

  • What is a biome?
  • What is an insect?
  • What insects live in my backyard?
  • How do insects vary within different biomes?



In the United States the audience is selected for first graders. First graders are usually between the ages of five and seven years. The following is a description of a typical first grade class:

  • They are emergent readers and are transitioning into more logical thinkers. 
  • Students come from varied backgrounds and are often grouped heterogeneously.
  • Text must be appropriate for their reading level and must have visuals and concrete examples. 
  • First graders are dependent on visual support to help them in their reading. They will use phonics and site words but will need visual representations to help give them the background information and foundation for understanding the given text.
  • The students need modeling and highly structured practice before independent work can be expected.


Here are some places to network and locate partners for the project.

When posting to the a forum to find a group you can use the following template:

Topic: Insect Collection
Grade Level: First Grade (Ages 5-7)
Intro/Abstract of the lesson: This TCL forcuses on the comparison of biomes and the insects which live in those biomes. The focus is on the similarites and differences between the insects structures and biome features.
URL to TCL: http://www.smith-science.com/insect
Duration of the Activity: Eight to Twelve Days

Standards and Objectives

California State Standards Addressed
2.a. Students know different plants and animals inhabit different kinds of environments and have external features that help them thrive in different kinds of places.


  • Given pictures of the same insect from different biomes, students will be able to list the similarities and differences between the insects.
  • Given a picture and list of features of all biomes, the student will be able to identify which biome they live in.
  • Given pictures of the same insect(crawling or flying) from different biomes(one in their backyard and one from the virtual insect collection), students will be able to draw a picture of each and write at least two sentences listing their similarities and differences.
Prior Knowledge and Pre-Lesson Activities

Prior Knowledge

The prior knowledge necessary to participate in this TCL:

  • Know what an insect is and the different parts which classify it as an insect
  • Know the four basic types of biomes (desert, mountain, tropical and grassland) and their features.

*The Pre-Lesson activities will help address the deficits the students may have for this activity.

Pre-Lesson Activities

Pre-Lesson One: What is a biome?
The teacher will display four photos of the four basic biomes (Desert, Mountains, Grasslands, and Tropical) and list some features of each biome, including:

  • Average temperature
  • Longitude location
  • Annual rainfall
  • Physical features
  • Vegetation. 

After the discussion the class will create 2 sentences that describe the biome and determine which biome they reside.

Pre-Lesson Two: What is an insect?
The teacher will conduct a word web with the question as:

  • “What is an insect?”

The teacher will give students an unlabeled copy of the insect diagram and have students fill in the blank spaces with a partner. The teacher will list the five characteristics that insects posses pointing them out using the diagram.

  • Hard external skeleton divided into: head, thorax and abdomen.
  • Exposed mouth parts
  • Three pairs of jointed legs.
  • Pair of antenna on head
  • An abdomen with 11 segments 
Action Sequence and Activity Structure

The action sequence and activity structure that we are referring to in this telecollaboration lesson(TCL) is from Judi Harris who created the framework.

Action Sequence

During the activities in this TCL, students will collect information locally to predict, extend, share and compete with others. Generally, students create something locally then add it to a group of similarly created works, combined to form a centrally located collection. This action sequence is called Collect, Share and Compare.

Activity Structure

The activities students and teachers will participate in through this TCL will focus on Information Collection.  Under the umbrella of Information Collection, we will be focusing the activities towards Database Creations and Pooled Data Analysis.

Database Creations is where students construct a database of information which is to be shared with students in other local or international schools.

Pooled Data Analysis consists of students receiving information from classes around the world, analyzing it, looking for patterns, similarities or differences and then reporting their findings.

At the completion of this TCL, students will have completed all of these activities to get their final product.

*Creating the database will take time and the first users will be piloting the systems and will not have much of a database to look through and compare bugs.  To keep moving with the lesson, teachers can create relationships with districts in other states to boost the initial database.

**Weather could cause delays in collecting the insects**



Lesson One: Go Catch Some Insects

  • The teacher will discuss and show photos of the different insects in the different biomes.
  • The teacher will also display photos of non-insect "bugs" and explain why they are not insects (Examples: Pill Bugs, Spiders, etc.)
  • The student will then be placed into groups of four and asked to go home and collect at least one insect. Give multiple days for the students to collect insects. Students (with help from their parent/guardian) should also write down where they found the insect

Lesson Two: Let Us Share...

  • Over multiple days, the teacher will examine the insects brought in by each student. If it meets the criteria of an insect, a photo will be taken of the insect and submitted on-line.
  • Each group will then be assigned to converse with another group through e-mail (from another location via the Virtual Insect Collection) and discuss the differences and similarities of their biomes and insects. Use the following questions for conversation...
    • What is your biome like? Describe it in a at least two sentences.
    • What are your summers like?
    • What are you winters like?
    • What season is it now?
    • Where did you catch you insect?
  • Tele-groups will should be assigned by the greatest distance and could be all the same biome, or different biomes for better contrast and comparison.

Lesson Three: Let Us Compare...

  • The teacher will give students time on the computer to look at the insects collected by their sharing group and compare the different features of the insect.
  • With the e-mail from the tele-group, the students will compare the biome they live in to the biome of their tele-group.
  • Questions to be answer are:
    • What are the similarities of the biome of your tele-group?
    • What are the differences of the biome of you tele-group?
    • Do you think the insect would be able to survive your biome? Why?
Virtual Insect Collection

Teachers/Students fill out a Google Form to submit their bug entry. 

What do we need to have on the form?

  1. School Name
  2. Teacher's Name
  3. Location: City, State, and or Country
  4. Biome
  5. Insect Picture (Small JPEG File <100 Kb)
  6. Flying or Crawling Insect?
  7. E-mail address

Submit your Insect here!

Check out the Virtual Insect Collection! (Coming Soon)


Students will be evaluated on their constructed responses to questions. These questions are answered via e-mail and submitted directly to the instructor as a "cc". The questions to be evaluated are:

  • What is your biome like? Describe it in a at least two sentences.
  • What are your summers like?
  • What are you winters like?
  • What season is it now?
  • Where did you catch you insect?

The other questions/items to be evaluated are:

  • What are the similarities of the biome of your tele-group?
  • What are the differences of the biome of you tele-group?
  • Do you think the insect would be able to survive your biome? Why?
  • Completion of a picture of two different biomes that were studied and a sentence about each.
  • Completion of a picture of the insect found in the two different biomes and two sentences describing similarities and differences.

Items Needed to Complete the TCL:

  • Internet Connection
  • Projector (ideal to show students website on a large scale)
  • Bug Collector (some contraption to collect bugs safely)
  • Pictures/book showing biomes and insects

Optional Items:

  • Paper
  • Crayons
  • Clear Plastic Container

Internet Resources:

Book Resources:

How to use GoogleDocs:

How to Publish with GoogleDocs



Thanks to FreePixels for the use of the picture.

Created by Mario Jacquez, Grace Reyes, and Eric Smith for Educational Technology 570