I’m sharing all the details from a mini unit study that we put together about arachnids. I’ve got ideas for connecting in with math, language arts, science and more. Read about what we did and download your free printable All About Arachnids book down below.
Arachnids are a type of arthropod, the phylum that includes invertebrates with exoskeletons, segmented bodies, and paired jointed appendages. Insects are a type of arthropod but NOT the same as arachnids! Arachnids include spiders, scorpions, mites, ticks, and harvestmen (A.K.A. Daddy Longlegs).
Learning about taxonomy is a fantastic way to engage a child’s love of animals. (Here’s one great way to start with animal classification.) Since we’ve discussed vertebrates, well, tons and tons, I decided to branch off into the other side of the Tree of Life. We encounter spiders and ticks quite frequently at our nature center and there was a lot of curiosity (and fear) about them.
As we always do when tackling a new topic, we hit up the library to search for fiction and nonfiction books on the topic. We learned a lot and I did some searching online to put together this little booklet. I tweaked a few things and made one available for you to download below.
Here’s a quick rundown of what’s in the download:
1. All About Arachnids cover page
2. Examples of Arachnids – This page can be used to sketch an example of each type or you can cut and paste images from the next page.
3. Examples of Arachnids – This page includes images of each of the 5 types of arachnids. You could use these to paste in the boxes on the previous page or however works best for you.
4. Create Your Own Spider Web – After reading Seaver the Wever we drew our own webs. See more on that below.
5. Comparing Arachnids – This page includes a Venn Diagram to complete with information about spiders and scorpions. The photo on the left is what we came up with just to get you started.
6. How Long is the Scorpion? – We found a lot of facts about the length of scorpions. On this page, use a ruler to compare the size of four types of scorpion.
7. Comparing Arthropods – This is a chart to complete with information about different classes of arthropods. I included insects and arachnids, the third row could be your choice of myriapods or crustaceans.
8. Arachnid Math – These are a few (silly) addition story problems.
9. How Many Spiders? – This page can be used as a coloring sheet or just for search and find. It’s also interesting to notice the symmetry in the spiders and insects.
There are a lot of neat hands-on items that we used in out unit study of arachnids. We were gifted this cool Real Bugs Discovery Kit a few years back and the kids were fascinated to see the REAL spiders, scorpions, and insects up close.
We also have some Safari Ltd. critters. I buried some in a box of kinetic sand for a fun treasure hunt.
Great Books About Arachnids
Our absolute favorite book that we found about arachnids was Seaver the Weaver. It’s the story of an orb weaver spider who takes a more creative approach to his web making. His webs are different and the other spiders don’t approve– until they see how awesome his creations are! We created our own Seaver-inspired webs with glue and glitter. You can either use regular liquid glue to design the web and then add glitter and dump off the excess or just use a handy tube of glitter glue. We also found some glittery pipe cleaners and decided to use those to twist into webs. (We actually did this for a craft in a class I teach for kids at the masjid. That’s a whole other set of posts I’ll get to one day!)