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

A note from our team: As part of the upgrade to Fishtank Plus, this unit will be revised this year. Some texts, materials, and questions may change as part of the revision.

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 the environment, or habitat in which they live, 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 is comprised of predominantly shared reading experiences to help students practice different reading strategies and skills. Building on unit one, 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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  • Fluency Package
  • Data Analysis Package
 

Texts and Materials

Core Materials

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

  • Book: Awesome Ants by Rus Buyok (Reading A-Z)   —  551-650L

  • Book: Dragonflies! by Cheryl Reifsnyder (Reading A-Z)   —  501-550L

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

  • Book: Insect Life Cycle by Chuck Garofano (Reading A-Z)   —  501-550L

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

See Text Selection Rationale

Unit Prep

Essential Questions

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  • What classifies something as an insect? 
  • What is an insect’s life cycle? Why is it important? 
  • How can insects be both beneficial and destructive? 
  • How do strong readers glean meaning from any text as they read? 
  • How do strong readers articulate a strong central idea after they finish reading? 
  • How do authors make strategic choices with craft and structure to help convey their central idea?

Reading Enduring Understandings

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  • When reading informational text, readers use multiple strategies to figure out the meaning of keywords. Readers can use context clues, glossaries, or other text features to figure out what words mean. 
  • Each section of an informational text teaches something new. To better understand a text, readers stop and think about the key ideas of each section. Readers can use text features to help determine the key ideas.
  • The central idea is what a text is mostly about. To determine the central idea, readers think about how all the different sections are connected. Then they ask themselves, “What did all the sections teach us?”
  • Readers notice how some authors use text features differently. Some authors put words in bold; some authors don’t. Some authors put important ideas in photographs; some authors don’t. When reading an informational text, readers should always be thinking about the way in which authors do or do not use text features. 
  • Authors use photographs to help a reader visualize and understand key ideas about a text. Engaging photographs help a reader become more excited about a particular topic. 

The main focus of this unit is on understanding how authors use text features to convey a central idea. In previous units, students engaged with a series of texts that used the same text features in the same exact way. In this unit, however, students will be pushed to see how text features can be used differently depending on the author. This will push students to think beyond a formulaic understanding of text features in order to build a deeper understanding of how text features can be used differently to build and support understanding.  

Writing Focus Areas

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Informational Writing Focus Areas

  • Use definitions as a type of evidence to support a particular point
  • Create text features and diagrams to support a particular point or idea
  • Use the best evidence to support a particular idea

In this unit, students explore the concept of using evidence to support a particular idea. Students will learn how to use definitions and text features to clearly explain content-specific content. Students will also begin to think about which evidence best supports a particular idea.

Language Focus Areas

  • Use frequently occurring adjectives to describe
  • Use complete simple sentences
  • Use learned spelling patterns when writing words
  • Use reference materials to check and correct spellings

This unit has a few main focuses. The first is on using complete simple sentences. Students will review the key components of a simple sentence and have ample time to practice writing their own simple sentences in response to the text. Students will also begin to explore using adjectives to describe. One core unit text relies heavily on the use of adjectives, therefore this focus area is directly connected to the learning done with that text. The final focus is on using spelling patterns and references in order to spell words correctly. This focus area is about establishing expectations for spelling and the routines for checking spelling. Students should receive targeted feedback on spelling, especially words that include known sound-spelling patterns, are listed on the word wall, or can be found in the text.

Writing-About-Reading Focus Areas

  • Correctly answer the question
  • Select and explain evidence and details 

In unit one, the main focus for writing about reading was on correctly answering the question. Since this focus area is dependent on the question and text demands, it will always remain a priority. In this unit, however, students will begin to support their answer with evidence and details. This does not mean that students should be quoting from the text or that students should be told to always include two details. Instead, students should learn how to include details that help answer the question correctly. Most often those details should be in their own words. Student work should be scored using our Short Answer Rubric

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 previous units. At this point, students should be fluid in identifying 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. Look at all of the words to see if there are any patterns (see Foundational Skills in Unit Prep for syllabication patterns). Are most of the words closed syllables? Open syllables? R-controlled? If so, include a quick teaching point to focus in on strategies students can use to tackle the multisyllabic words in the text. If there are no patterns, pick a few words to model with students and review how to use syllabication to tackle challenging words. During reading, circulate and provide additional teaching and guidance on syllabication. 

Fluency Focus Areas

  • Readers read with expression and volume to match interpretation of the passage
  • Readers use proper intonation to show interpretation of the passage
  • Readers 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. 

Suggested Supports: 

  • For each core text, we suggest the following Close Reading Structures for reading. Days one and two focus on modeling reading, with ample time for students to participate in fluent reading. Days three and four focus on analyzing author’s craft and deeper meaning. 
  • The focus of modeled reading should vary depending on student needs. However, we suggest that modeled reading should focus on building understanding of key genre knowledge understandings, features of text complexity, phonics understandings, or fluency understandings. After teachers have modeled, it is important that students have a chance to mimic or practice the teacher model (e.g., if a teacher models how to read bold words and reread to figure out the meaning of the bold words, students should practice reading the same section of texts either as a class or in partners). No lesson should be entirely read aloud. All lessons should include ample opportunities for students to practice reading and engaging with the text. 
  • Students can participate in fluent reading in a variety of ways. Lessons may, and should, use a combination of the following structures depending on text demands and lesson tasks: 
    • Echo Reading
    • Partner Reading
    • Shared Reading
    • Independent Reading
  • Each text is read for a minimum of three to four days. On days three and four, when students are reading for fluency and to build a deeper understanding, have students pick a short section of the text to reread in order to self-assess their own fluency. Students can either score their own fluency on our Reading Fluency Rubric or get feedback from a partner. Partners should use the language of the teaching points when giving targeted feedback. 
  • If desired, pick sections of the text to use as a fluency checkpoint. Score students on the Reading Fluency Rubric.

Vocabulary

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Text-based

Insect Bodies: insect, arthropods, segments, joints, invertebrates, backbones, exoskeleton, thorax, antennae, abdomen, compound eyes, pierce, hind legs, transparent, herbivores, carnivores, scavengers, camouflage

Insect Life Cycle: life cycle, crops, egg, larva, pupa, adult, nymph 

Dragonflies!: shed, directions

Awesome Ants: species, vibrations, antennae, communicate, colony, capable, female, male

Insectlopedia: leave, demon, terrorize, seize 

Helpful and Harmful Insects: pests, scavenger, pollination, nutrients, fertile, diseases, swarm, host, venom

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.
  • Explain ways that insects are harmful: destroy crops, trees, wooden buildings, and clothes; carry disease; bite or sting.
  • Identify the distinguishing characteristics of insects: exoskeleton, six legs, and three body parts: head, thorax, and abdomen; most but not all insects have wings.
  • Explain insect life cycles.
  • Identify that most insects live solitary lives, but some are social (such as ants, honey bees, termites, and wasps).
  • Describe key characteristics of ants.

Intellectual Prep

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Build Background Knowledge

  • Research and learn about the different characteristics of insects.
  • Research and learn about insect life cycles and the differences between different insect life cycles.
  • Research and learn about the ways in which insects are both beneficial and destructive.

Internalize the Text and Standards

  • Read unit texts to build background on content and unit essential questions.
  • Take unit assessment and write exemplar responses for all assessment questions.
  • Understand unit priority standards. Determine the habits of good readers to focus on over the course of the unit.
  • Unpack how this unit builds understanding of science standards. What connections can be made between the content in this unit and what students learned in Unit 1?

Assessment

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

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

3

  • Insect Bodies pp. 20 – 27 — (skip pp. 22-25)

    RI.2.1

    RI.2.2

    RI.2.4

    RI.2.5

Determine the central idea of the text by reading with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension. 

4

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

5

  • Insect Life Cycle

    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.

6

  • Insect Life Cycle — (reread)

    RI.2.1

    RI.2.3

    RI.2.5

    RI.2.7

    SL.2.2

Describe the key phases in an insect life cycle and why each phase is important by using text features and details to describe the connection between scientific ideas.

 

7

  • Insect Life Cycle — (reread)

    RI.2.2

    RI.2.5

Determine the central idea of the text by reading with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

8

    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. 

9

  • Dragonflies!

    RI.2.1

    RI.2.2

    RI.2.5

    RI.2.7

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

10

  • Dragonflies! — (close read)

    RI.2.4

    RI.2.6

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

11

  • Dragonflies!

    W.2.1

    SL.2.1

    SL.2.2

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

12

  • Awesome Ants pp. 3 – 8

    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.

13

  • Awesome Ants pp. 9 – 16

    RI.2.1

    RI.2.2

    RI.2.3

    RI.2.5

Determine the central idea of the text by reading with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension. 

14

  • Awesome Ants — (close read)

    RI.2.4

    RI.2.6

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

15

    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. 

16

  • 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. 

17

  • Insectlopedia — "Inchworm", "Hornet"

    RL.2.4

    SL.2.5

Explain how the author uses poetry to describe an insect. 

18

  • Helpful and Harmful Insects — pp. 6-7, 10-12, 14-15

    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.

19

  • 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.

20

  • Helpful and Harmful Insects pp. 22 – 29

    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.

21

  • Helpful and Harmful Insects

    W.2.1

    SL.2.1

    SL.2.2

Argue why it would be a good or bad thing if our world suddenly become infested with mosquitoes, bees, and ants by using organizing categories to defend claims or opinions about a content–related topic.

22

    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.2.1.e — Use adjectives and adverbs, and choose between them depending on what is to be modified.

  • 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.