Insects

Students learn about insects and their impact on the natural world by asking and answering questions about informational texts in order to become inquisitive, active readers.

Unit Summary

In this unit, second graders learn about insects and the impact insects have on the natural world. Building on what students learned in Unit 1 about habitats, they will explore how different insects rely on their habitat for survival. Through this exploration, students will learn the unique characteristics of insects, how insects can be both beneficial and destructive, and the stages of an insect’s life cycle. By the end of the unit, students will have a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the beauty of the insect world.

This unit consists of predominantly shared reading experiences to help students practice different reading strategies and skills. Building on Unit 1, students will continue to be inquisitive, active consumers of texts by asking and answering questions, and they will continue to deepen their understanding of the role text features and illustrations play in helping a reader better understand the content of a text. Students will also begin to explore the connections between scientific ideas and concepts using cause-and-effect language and will continue to strengthen their habits of discussion as they debate and analyze key ideas of the unit.

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Texts and Materials

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Core Materials

  • Book: Insect Bodies by Bobbie Kalman and Molly Aloian (Crabtree Pub Co. 2005)    —  IG570L

  • Book: Insect Life Cycles by Bobbie Kalman and Molly Aloian (Crabtree Publishing Company, 2005)    —  NC760L

  • Book: Insectlopedia by Douglas Florian (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2002)  

  • Book: Helpful and Harmful Insects by Bobbie Kalman and Molly Aloian (Crabtree Pub Co. 2005)    —  NC790L

  • Book: Ants by Melissa Stewart (National Geographic Kids, 2010)    —  470L

  • Book: Bees by Laura Marsh (National Geographic Kids, 2016)    —  530L

See Text Selection Rationale

Assessment

This assessment accompanies this unit and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.

Unit Prep

Essential Questions

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  • What impact do insects have on the natural world?

Insects have an important impact on the natural world. Although you might think insects are annoying, they are incredibly helpful! Many bees help the natural world by making it easier to grow crops. Bees pollinate flowers so they can spread seeds. Ants dig deep in the dirt which helps keep soil fertile, making it easier to grow crops. Other insects, called scavengers, help to keep the natural world clean. They eat things that other animals or insects do not want to eat, like dead or dying animals and insect droppings. Insects can also make things for people! Bees make honey that we eat. Silkworms help make a material called silk that we use to make clothing. However, sometimes insects can be harmful. Some insects, like mosquitoes, spread diseases and can make people sick. Other insects can ruin crops by eating them. Although some insects can be harmful, insects are an important part of the natural world and we should work to protect them.

Foundational Skills

Phonics and Word Recognition Focus Areas

  • Use known spelling-sound correspondences when reading one-syllable and two-syllable words.
  • Use known spelling-sound correspondences when reading multisyllabic words.
  • Recognize and read grade-appropriate irregularly spelled words.

The core texts in this unit include more multisyllabic words than in the previous unit. At this point, students should be able to fluidly identify known spelling-sound correspondences in one-syllable and two-syllable words; however, they may struggle to decode longer multisyllabic words. When prepping for a lesson and internalizing the text complexity of a particular text, we suggest identifying multisyllabic words that may be challenging for students, and using the Syllabication Routine at the beginning of the lesson.

Fluency Focus Areas

  • Read with expression and volume to match interpretation of the passage.
  • Use proper intonation to show interpretation of the passage.
  • Reread in order to confirm or self-correct word recognition and understanding.

The main fluency focus of this unit is on reading an informational text with the right expression and intonation to show interpretation of the passage. This includes knowing how to read different text features to highlight the feature's purpose. This also includes rereading and self-correcting in order to figure out the meaning of domain-specific, multisyllabic, or tricky words.

Writing Focus Areas

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  • Expand simple sentences using “because,” “but,” and “so.”

As students master complete sentences in Unit 1, we move on to expanding sentences to make them stronger. The focus in this unit is on writing complex sentences using the conjunctions “because,” “but,” and “so.” Including conjunctions in their sentence-level writing not only makes sentences stronger and nuanced, but it encourages students to develop more specific and detailed points.

Informational Writing Focus Areas

  • Brainstorm and outline.
  • Distinguish topic sentences from supporting sentences.
  • Use facts and definitions to develop points.

Vocabulary

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Text-based

abdomen adult antennae aphid arthropod characteristics compound eyes colony cocoon egg emerge exoskeleton fertile hatch hive honeycomb host larva metamorphosis mouthparts molt nectar nymph parasite pest pollinate pollen pollination pupa scavenger solitary social thorax venom wing bud

Root/Affix

exo-

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Content Knowledge and Connections

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  • Explain ways that insects are helpful:
    • Pollination
    • Produce products like honey, beeswax, and silk
    • Eat harmful insects, dead or dying animals, or animal droppings
  • Explain ways that insects are harmful:
    • Destroy crops, trees, wooden buildings, and clothes
    • Carry diseases, bite, or sting.
  • Identify the distinguishing characteristics of insects:
    • Exoskeleton
    • Six legs
    • Three body parts: head, thorax, and abdomen
    • Compound eyes
    • Two antennae
    • Mouthparts on their head
    • Wings are not an insect characteristic; only some insects have wings.
  • Explain insect life cycles:
    • Complete (Four steps: egg, larva, pupa, adult)
    • Incomplete (Three steps: egg, nymph, adult)

Lesson Map

1

  • Insect Bodies pp. 4 – 11

    RI.2.1

    RI.2.4

    RI.2.5

Identify key information about insect bodies by reading with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

2

  • Insect Bodies pp. 12 – 19

    RI.2.1

    RI.2.4

    RI.2.5

Identify and explain characteristics of an insect by identifying and explaining key details in a text Read Aloud.

3

Discussion & Writing

  • Insect Bodies

    RI.2.4

    RI.2.7

Explain which of the following images are insects by using organizing categories to defend claims or opinions about a content-related topic.

4

  • Insect Life Cycles pp. 6 – 9

    RI.2.1

    RI.2.3

    RI.2.5

Identify key information about insect life cycles by reading with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

5

  • Insect Life Cycles pp. 10 – 19

    RI.2.2

    RI.2.5

Describe the key phases in a complete insect life cycle by using text features and details to describe the connection between scientific ideas.

6

  • Insect Life Cycles pp. 20 – 25

    RI.2.3

    RI.2.5

    RI.2.7

Describe the differences between a complete and incomplete metamorphosis using text features and details to describe the connection between scientific ideas.

7

Discussion & Writing

  • Insect Life Cycles

    RI.2.3

    W.2.2

    SL.2.1

Explain what happens at each stage of the life cycle by using picture clues and details to sequence events.

8

  • Ants pp. 4 – 13

    RI.2.1

    RI.2.2

    RI.2.5

    RI.2.7

Identify key information about ants by reading with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

9

  • Ants — pages 16-21 & 24-31

    RI.2.1

    RI.2.2

    RI.2.5

    RI.2.7

Identify key information about ants by reading with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

10

Discussion & Writing

  • Ants

    W.2.1

    SL.2.1

    SL.2.2

Argue why an ant would or would not survive in a rainforest habitat by using organizing categories to defend claims or opinions about a content-related topic.

11

  • Bees pp. 4 – 13

    RI.2.1

    RI.2.2

Describe the impact bees have on the natural world using key details from the text.

12

  • Bees pp. 16 – 23

    RI.2.2

    RI.2.4

    RI.2.5

Describe a bee’s world by noticing key details in the text and using relevant vocabulary.

13

  • Bees pp. 24 – 29

    RI.2.5

    RI.2.6

Determine the main purpose of a text by reading with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

14

Discussion & Writing

  • Bees

    W.2.1

    SL.2.1

    SL.2.2

Argue why a bee would or would not survive in a rainforest habitat by using organizing categories to defend claims or opinions about a content-related topic.

15

  • Insectlopedia — "The Caterpillar," "The Dragonfly," and "The Army Ants"

    RL.2.4

    SL.2.5

Explain how the author uses poetry to describe an insect.

16

  • Insectlopedia — "Inchworm," "Hornet"

    RL.2.4

    SL.2.5

Explain how the author uses poetry to describe an insect.

17

  • Helpful and Harmful Insects — Pages 6-7 & 10-15

    RI.2.3

    RI.2.6

    RI.2.8

Identify the different ways insects can be both helpful and harmful and explain one reason why by using text features and details to describe the connection between scientific concepts.

18

  • Helpful and Harmful Insects pp. 16 – 21

    RI.2.3

    RI.2.6

    RI.2.8

Identify the different ways insects can be both helpful and harmful, and explain one reason why by using text features and details to describe the connection between scientific concepts.

19

  • Helpful and Harmful Insects pp. 22 – 29

    RI.2.2

    RI.2.3

    RI.2.8

Identify the different ways insects can be both helpful and harmful and explain one reason why by using text features and details to describe the connection between scientific concepts.

20

Discussion & Writing

  • Helpful and Harmful Insects

    W.2.1

    SL.2.1

    SL.2.2

Argue why it would be a good or bad thing if all the insects in our world suddenly disappeared by using organizing categories to defend claims or opinions about a content–related topic.

21

5 days

Writing

  • Variety of nonfiction insect books

    W.2.2

    W.2.7

Describe an insect by writing an informational text that uses researched facts, images, and definitions to explain what they learned.

22

4 days

Project

  • All unit texts and posters

    W.2.2

    W.2.5

    SL.2.1

    SL.2.5

    SL.2.6

Design a make-believe insect by using key details from the entire unit to show mastery and understanding of a topic.

Common Core Standards

Language Standards
  • L.2.1 — Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

  • L.2.2 — Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

  • L.2.2.d — Generalize learned spelling patterns when writing words (e.g., cage → badge; boy → boil).

  • L.2.2.e — Consult reference materials, including beginning dictionaries, as needed to check and correct spellings.

  • L.2.4 — Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grade 2 reading and content, choosing flexibly from an array of strategies.

  • L.2.4.e — Use glossaries and beginning dictionaries, both print and digital, to determine or clarify the meaning of words and phrases.

  • L.2.6 — Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using adjectives and adverbs to describe (e.g., When other kids are happy that makes me happy).

Reading Standards for Informational Text
  • RI.2.1 — Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.

  • RI.2.2 — Identify the main topic of a multiparagraph text as well as the focus of specific paragraphs within the text.

  • RI.2.3 — Describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text.

  • RI.2.4 — Determine the meaning of words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 2 topic or subject area.

  • RI.2.5 — Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently.

  • RI.2.6 — Identify the main purpose of a text, including what the author wants to answer, explain, or describe.

  • RI.2.7 — Explain how specific images (e.g., a diagram showing how a machine works) contribute to and clarify a text.

  • RI.2.8 — Describe how reasons support specific points the author makes in a text.

  • RI.2.10 — By the end of year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grades 2—3 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

Reading Standards for Literature
  • RL.2.4 — Describe how words and phrases (e.g., regular beats, alliteration, rhymes, repeated lines) supply rhythm and meaning in a story, poem, or song.

Reading Standards: Foundational Skills
  • RF.2.3 — Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.

  • RF.2.4 — Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

Speaking and Listening Standards
  • SL.2.1 — Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 2 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

  • SL.2.2 — Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.

  • SL.2.5 — Create audio recordings of stories or poems; add drawings or other visual displays to stories or recounts of experiences when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.

  • SL.2.6 — Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation in order to provide requested detail or clarification.

Writing Standards
  • W.2.1 — Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply reasons that support the opinion, use linking words (e.g., because, and, also) to connect opinion and reasons, and provide a concluding statement or section.

  • W.2.2 — Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section.

  • W.2.5 — With guidance and support from adults and peers, focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed by revising and editing.

  • W.2.7 — Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., read a number of books on a single topic to produce a report; record science observations).