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Insects vs. Spiders Lesson Plan for Elementary School

Instructor: Alexis Jones

Alexis has taught grades 1 through 6, and has a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction.

Is that thing crawling up your arm an insect or a spider? While spiders are not insects, they are often mentioned in the same breath. This lesson plan will highlight the similarities and differences between arachnids and insects.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Identify similarities and differences between insects and spiders
  • Define and use appropriate scientific vocabulary


60-90 minutes

Curriculum Standards

LS1.A: Structure and Function

Plants and animals have both internal and external structures that serve various functions in growth, survival, behavior, and reproduction. (4-LS1-1)


  • arthropod
  • insect
  • arachnid
  • antennae
  • thorax
  • abdomen
  • cephalothorax


Warm Up

  • To warm up, review the vocabulary with students. While some of it is very advanced, elementary students love a challenge, especially if you tell them that some of this terminology is reserved for middle schoolers! This review could involve a game that asks them to match a word on the left side of the blackboard with a definition or picture on the right side, or you could use an online crossword generator to create a worksheet students could do in pairs.

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