Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Non-bugs!

Today, for the last day of our 'Bugs' curriculum, we covered 'The Non-bugs,' better known as SPIDERS!  This is a fun topic, with so many project ideas, which can be later applied to Halloween activities, so keep us in mind when that time rolls around again!  Before the rundown, here are a few spider facts:

Fact #1:  A spider egg contains as much DNA as four humans combined!  And that's just one of the unborn spiders; the entire egg sac outnumbers the population of India!
Fact #2:  Because they are so small, spiderlings could be easy prey for other insects.  Luckily, spiders are born with almost no color, making them nearly invisible in the air.
Fact #3:  Spider silk was used for socks in the 1700s, and gloves, too.  A Frenchman, Bon De Saint-Hilaire, showed it was possible to make fabric from spider silk.  He would collect spider cocoons, then boil, wash, dry, and comb them to collect the thread.  Today, this method would never be profitable ... 1.3 million spider cocoons would yield only about 2 pounds of silk.

Today's photos:

The materials for our marble painting spider web ... a round piece of paper (we chose blue), a marble, white paint, a dish to roll your marble in (clean tin pie plates work great!), a plastic spider, and glue.
 After placing your round piece of paper in your shallow dish, dip your marble in the white paint, then drop it into the dish.  Slowly, tip the dish in different directions to get your wet marble rolling.
 Once your marble has made several trips, glue your spider to its 'web' and let dry.
 Next, we did her favorite activity of the day ... the 'Transparent Tape Spider Web!'  Here's what you need:  clear tape, a toy spider, and cotton balls for 'flies.'
 Place strips of tape, in a spider web pattern, at the top of a doorway as shown.
 Add your spider to your tape web.
 Then, the fun part: Throw your cotton ball 'flies' towards the sticky side of your web!
'Soup's on, Little Spider!'
 The materials for our 'Cute Crawler' bracelet ... five black pipe cleaners, glue, google eyes, and foam shapes, one black piece cut into the shape of a spider's body and head, and one small red piece cut into the shape of an hourglass.  (I'm sure by now you can guess that this will be a black widow.  Be sure to have the conversation with your child that these spiders are normally NEVER to be touched!)
 Bend your pipe cleaners around the neck of your spider, making eight legs and two extra pieces to wrap around your child's arm for a bracelet.  Next, glue on the google eyes and red hourglass to add features to your spider.  Finally, twist your two extra pipe cleaner pieces around the wrist to wear!  So fashionable!  :)
 Our spider hat made with construction paper pieces (eight legs and two large pieces for the base of the hat), tape, google eyes, and glue!
Our 'Apple Spider' snack!  
YUM, the caramel web is delicious!
 Next, I worked on our spider breads to go with dinner.  I got this idea years ago from one of those thin, paperback recipe books that you see at the registers at the grocery store.  It was in a Halloween edition, and though I've since misplaced it, I still remember how to do this.  You need a can of breadsticks (I used Pillsbury), some cooking spray, tin foil, and black olives.  One 12-count can will make 5 spiders, plus a bit extra in case you mess up a leg.  One breadstick makes the body of your spider.  Simply roll out, then wrap in a spiral, as shown below.  (It is probably easier to go ahead and make your five bodies, then work on the legs.  You can see four bodies in the bottom picture and a few legs, which I will tell you how to make now.)  For the legs, a pair of good kitchen shears works best.  With the remaining breadsticks, cut each in half, then each half needs to be cut into three equal long strips, meaning one breadstick will give you six legs.  (Work as quickly as you can because the longer the breadsticks are out, the tackier they get, making them harder to work with.)   
Roll some strips of tinfoil and place on your pan to serve as support for your spiders' legs.  Lightly spray the pan and strips of tin foil with cooking spray before arranging your spiders to prevent them from sticking during the baking process.  Once sprayed, arrange your spiders as shown, with four legs on each side, topped with a spiral base, and two olive slices for 'eyes.'  I can get four on per pan. 
 Bake according to the instructions on your breadsticks can, but watch your spiders closely so they don't get too dark.  I usually need to turn my pan halfway through the cooking time.
 All done and ready to eat!
 The materials for our spaghetti noodles 'Spider Webs' ... wax paper, a shallow dish, glue, a plastic spider, and about a cup of spaghetti noodles, cooked and cooled.  (The bonus to this project is when I cooked the noodles, I made much more, and with my spider breads, all I have to do for dinner tonight is brown some ground beef and heat up some sauce for spaghetti with spider breads!) 
 Lay out a large sheet of wax paper, then pour some glue in your shallow dish.  Let your child roll their noodles in the glue and rub off any extra before placing in a spider web pattern on the wax paper.
 Once the noodles are laid out in the pattern you want, add some glue to the center, attach your plastic spider, and let dry.  Once dry, carefully peel your web from the wax paper!
 Here, we are checking on the flowers that we pressed last week. 
 They turned out so good!
 Then, we adhered them to paper to use for cards for Mother's Day next month!

Today's rundown:
Letter 'Z':
1. We practiced writing big letter 'Z' and little letter 'z,' both on paper and in the sugar tray.
1. We read Spiders are Not Insects by Allan Fowler.
2. We read Spider's Lunch: All About Garden Spiders by Joanna Cole.
3. We read Eight Legs Up by David Kirk.
4. We read The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle.
5. We read Sophie's Masterpiece by Eileen Spinelli.
6. We read Spiders by Monica Hughes.
7. We read Mighty Spiders! by Fay Robinson.
8. We watched the Diary of a Spider and More Cute Critter Stories DVD that we borrowed from Netflix.
9. We put together our 3D puzzle spider and scorpion models.
10. We painted her two spider and tarantula Magic Paint Posters.
11. We made the 'Cute Crawler' (pipe cleaner spider) as seen in one of my many magazine cut-outs.
12. For dinner, we made spider breads.  (We did this back in October for Halloween, too.)
13. We made the spider web (marble painting craft) as seen at
14. For snack, we made the 'Apple Spiders' as seen at
15. We made the spider hat as seen at
16. We read 'The Weavers' from Shel Silverstein's Falling Up, page 119.
17. We did the 'Transparent Tape Spider Web' as seen at, but we first we added a large spider to ours.
18. We colored a tarantula coloring page and completed the bug matching worksheet from the same coloring book.
19. We read the following poems from Bugs: Poems About Creeping Things by David L. Harrison: 'Spiderwebs' (page 9), 'A Tick’s Friends' (page 10), 'Scorpion' (page 14), and 'Spider' (page 33).
20. We did the 'Spider Webs' activity found in our The Everything Toddler Activities Book, page 231, using cooked spaghetti.
1. We checked on the flowers that we pressed last week. Then, we adhered them to paper to make cards for Grandma for Mother's Day.

 A I stated in earlier posts, today will wrap up our homeschooling week, as we will be in Atlanta tomorrow so that Maggie can visit her grandparents. Happy (early) April Fool's Day to everyone!  We wish you a wonderful weekend!  See you next week!

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