Praying Mantis Lesson Plan

Instructor: Maria Airth

Maria has taught University level psychology and mathematics courses for over 20 years. They have a Doctorate in Education from Nova Southeastern University, a Master of Arts in Human Factors Psychology from George Mason University and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Flagler College.

The praying mantis is an intriguing insect. This lesson plan offers your students a chance to get to know more about the praying mantis and its life cycle through engaging, active and creative activities.

Learning Objectives

After this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Describe a praying mantis biologically
  • Differentiate between incomplete and complete metamorphosis
  • Define terms related to praying mantises and their life cycle


  • Warm-up and Instructions: 20 minutes
  • Activity 1: 10-15 minutes
  • Activity 2: 30 minutes
  • Activity 3: 45-60 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.


Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.


Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.


  • Printed transcripts of the video lesson Praying Mantis: Facts & Life Cycle and hard copies of the lesson quiz
  • Audio/video equipment
  • Art supplies, including:
    • Modelling clay
    • Paint
    • Poster paper
    • Markers/colored pencils
    • Glue
    • Pop sticks, pipe cleaners and googly eyes
  • Access to research materials
  • Mixed assortment of plastic toy insects, but include at least a dozen toy praying mantises


  • Ask for a volunteer to summarize an outline, then follow the summary up by asking the class:
    • How is an outline formatted?
    • What information goes into an outline?
    • Why would you create an outline of information?
  • Tell your students that you will be practicing creating an informative outline while learning some facts about the life cycle of the praying mantis.
  • Write the two main headings, 'Praying Mantis 101' and 'Praying Mantis Life Stages,' on the board.
  • Instruct students to copy the two main headings for the lesson onto their own paper, leaving plenty of room to fill in important information later.


  • Hand out the transcripts of the video lesson.
  • Start video. Pause at time marker 1:58. Discuss:
    • Was any information presented that should be added?
    • What sub-headings could be added to organize the information presented in the video?
  • On the board, add the following sub-headings under the 'Mantis 101' heading:
    • Definition
    • Life span
    • Body design
    • Food
  • Instruct students to add these subheadings to their own outlines and fill in the relevant information under each sub-heading.
  • Ask for volunteers to share what information they added to each section of their outline.
  • Continue the video. Pause at marker 4:17. You should now repeat the steps from the previous heading--outline sub-headings and fill in information about the life cycle of praying mantises.
  • Ask for volunteers to give sub-headings.
  • Add the following sub-headings to the board as you guide student discussion on the information relayed in this section of the video:
    • Types of metamorphosis
    • Life stages
    • Egg
    • Nymph
    • Adult
  • Discuss information to add to each sub-heading section and instruct students to add the information to their own outlines.
  • Finish the video.
  • Allow students time to review the transcript of the lesson and update their outlines before taking the quiz.
  • Hand out the lesson quiz. Go over each question and answer with the class after they have finished it.

Activity 1 - Find It


  • Plastic insects


  • Before class, hide the plastic insects in the classroom or outside in a free area for use during class.


  • Take students to the search area.
  • Ask for a volunteer to review the description of a praying mantis.
  • Tell the class that there are hidden praying mantises in the area (give the exact number).
  • At a signal, allow the students to search for the praying mantises. When all the hidden praying mantises have been found, allow those students who found them to re-hide them for another round.

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