Insects have a hard outer skin that protects their bodies called an exoskeleton. Most insects have wings, antennae and three body parts: head, thorax, and abdomen.
Insects are the world's most plentiful animal. There are more species of insects than of any other animal.
Every third grader will be given two crickets to care for and observe until the school year ends. Details about what the crickets need to remain healthy and happy are given below.
The crickets will be housed at home during the project so students can care for them and observe them as they grow and develop. Suitable cricket containers should be light, unbreakable, have a lid, sit flat, and be transparent so the crickets can be easily observed. Students should bring their cricket containers to school no later than Monday, April 29th, 2013. The container that comes to school can be a temporary container to transport the crickets home if the crickets are being kept in a container too large to bring to school (an old aquarium, for example).
Crickets need a container that is large enough for them to move around freely and feel safe. Plastic containers work best. The container should be at least 4-6 inches high so the crickets don't jump out when the lid is removed. Do not use a container with mesh or cloth sides because the crickets can eat right through it!
Crickets need a container that is dry, has fresh air, and is not too bright. Poke small holes in the lid of your container to let in fresh air. Make sure there is nothing sticky inside the cage that crickets can get caught on or injured.
Crickets like dark places. You can cover one or more sides of your container with dark paper to make it darker inside.
Your crickets need places to hide. They don’t feel safe out in the open. Put crumpled paper, paper cups, or cardboard in the container for them to hide behind.
DO NOT PUT HEAVY OBJECTS IN YOUR CAGE THAT CAN MOVE AROUND WHEN THE CAGE IS MOVED. THESE CAN INJURE YOUR CRICKETS. GLUE CONTAINERS DOWN OR PUSH THEM INTO SOIL OR SAND SO THEY DON’T MOVE.
Your crickets need water that they can safely use. They can drown in deep water, so put cotton balls, a sponge, or something to soak up and hold water in a small lid.
Watch out for mold! Spilled water or too much moisture (or too little ventilation) in a cage can cause mold. Keep your cage and don't let mold get started.
Your crickets need food. Cereal, breadcrumbs, lettuce, small pieces of fruit are all good foods. Be careful about things that might get moldy like fruit. Dry foods like cereal work best.
Your crickets like to dig in moist, packed sand or soil. Females lay their eggs underground. Put sand in the bottom of the container or put a small amount of damp sand in a paper cup or lid for them to use.
Crickets like peace and quiet! Keep them away from loud noises. The males will sing when they get older; the females don’t sing.
How do you tell female from male crickets? Female crickets have an ovipositor to lay their eggs. This is a small tube that extends out of their abdomens. Males don’t have these. More information about cricket care can be found on this web site.
How to catch a cricket on the loose: Carefully cover the cricket with a clear cup or glass. Then slide a piece of paper or thin card under the glass. Be careful not to injure the cricket's legs when you do this. Hold the cup securely on the card and then turn it over. Now you can put the cricket back where it belongs!
Online field guides to identify insect
Most Useful General Insect Web Sites
INSECT RESEARCH PROJECT
LEARNING TEAM TIPS
Choose an insect that interests you and one that you can find information about. Some insects are written about a lot (butterflies, ants, beetles), and some not so much (flies or water beetles). Choose a family of insects rather than a specific species.
When working with your learning team, make a plan, divide up the work, and help each other. Some members can find good books or web sites for the insect, some can write about the facts you found, and some can work on drawings. Work together as a team.
Always try to put things in your own words. Don’t copy information word-for-word from any book or web site unless absolutely necessary.
Always write down the name of the book or website where you found the information--the book title and author or the main title of web site.
Choose facts that show why this insect is interesting or unique. Good detail example: “The stink bug uses a really bad-smelling chemical to protect itself from predators.” Poor detail example: “The stink bug has 6 legs.”
Pick the big ideas and the most important details about your insect. Don’t right down everything, just the really important things.
Using the common name of the insect is okay, but you can also include the species (scientific) name if you want to.
Include one or more drawings of your insects. Drawing an insect as if you were looking down on it is a good way to show the whole body and all the legs, wings, and antennae.
Bees and Wasps
Butterflies & Moths