Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Arthropods of the Land

Lesson 13 of Apologia's Exploring Creation with Zoology 3: Land Animals of the Sixth Day by Jeannie Fulbright is all about "Arthropods of the Land," those invertebrates with tough exoskeletons, segmented bodies, and jointed feet ("arthropod" actually means "jointed foot"), like spiders, scorpions, ticks, mites, centipedes, millipedes, and more.
Before I take you into the new stuff, let me share with you what we have done in the past with arthropods, specifically, spiders.

One of our favorite reads to date was Charlotte's Web by E. B. White.  (Please add this to your study of arthropods.)
After reading it, we went to see the story on stage with some friends.  For a snack after the show, I packed white powdered doughnut holes (three per bag), included a plastic spider ring, and topped the bags with labels, reading "Spiders' Egg Sacs."  I know it sounds disgusting, but the kids loved it.
Maybe you would like to add this as a snack to your study?  (That post can be found at
Later, in a very long post dedicated to spiders (at, we used a marble dipped in white paint to roll paint a spider's web.
(Here is the finished web with its plastic resident glued on.)
At that same post, we made a clear tape web across a door frame, making sure the sticky sides all faced one direction ...
... complete with fake spider ...
... and threw cotton balls ("bugs") at it to demonstrate how they get stuck in a sticky web.
She loved this!
We also made a black widow bracelet with pipe cleaners, construction paper, and googly eyes ...
... a spider hat ...
... and a spider snack, using an apple, raisins, and peanut butter for the spider, and caramel dip for its sticky web.
That night, to go with dinner, we made spider breads.
Aren't they cute?  (Please see the aforementioned post for even more ideas that I didn't add here.)
Onto the new stuff!

Day 1

To start our study of arthropods, we first read about spiders and their webs in our text, then colored the coloring pages for this lesson in our notebooking journal.
While coloring, Mags watched the "Spins a Web" episode of The Magic School Bus (which you can watch at ...
... and the "Along Came a Spider" episode of The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That (on the Surprise, Little Guys! DVD).
You can watch the same on YouTube at, below.
After our videos, we completed the "Try This!" activity on page 234 of our text, which challenges you to build your own orb web.  It's harder than it looks!  We decided to use a metal chair we have in our classroom closet, as it has some right angles that would make it easier for web building.  Using red yarn as our "dragline silk," we made the radial lines of our web.  Next, using some yellow baker's twine as our "capture silk," we started making circles using the radial lines as supports.
It took a lot of pulling and pushing to keep all the threads in place.
 When we felt we had enough circles of capture silk in place (though ours looked pretty sad), we placed a spider sticker in the center of our orb web.
 Great effort, Mags!  We have a newfound respect for these amazing creatures!
If you watch this video of this spiny orb weaver spider (at, below), you can see how these critters carefully avoid their capture silk by pulling up on the radial lines.  It's fascinating!

Day 2

We started Day 2 of this lesson reading a story about trap-door spiders ("The Trap") in Animals Build Amazing Homes by Hedda Nussbaum.  (This is a very old book.)
We then read Anansi the Spider by Gerald McDermott ...
... before working on our "Fascinating Facts" in our notebooking journal.
After updating her journal, we continued reading in our text.

Day 3

On Day 3, after reading yet more in the text, we watched a video about ten amazing spiders at, below.  (WARNING!  Though this is a great video, there contains some information at the end, starting at minute 10:08, about a spider that is very dangerous to humans.  One of the side effects of this spider's bite is a prolonged erection.  Stop your video at minute 10:07 if this is something you don't want your child/children to hear!)
After watching the video, I had Maggie fill out a "Video Review" sheet, made on my computer.
(These sheets always get added into her journal too.)
For another journal addition, we printed and completed the "Spider External Anatomy" worksheet from at  These sheets are free if you register on the site.
Next, we did some beautiful web art from the idea we got at  
(The picture below belongs to that site.)
First, using a white oil pastel, Maggie drew an orb web onto white cardstock.
She then painted over her drawing using a dark wash of watercolor.
She loved this so much, she decided to make two!
As per the site's suggestion, we used a light sprinkling of salt to give our web a mottled effect.
Once dry, Maggie used a Sharpie to draw in her spiders.
They turned out great!
These went into her journal as well.

Day 4

To start Day 4 of this lesson, we read an old favorite, I'm a Pill Bug by Yukihisa Tokuda.
It's a sweet book.
I wasn't feeling too well that day, so Maggie's Daddy took her out to look for some arthropods.  While out, he texted me the following five pictures of their finds.
This guy is just beautiful!
And here, Mags is holding two isopods/roly-polies/pillbugs/sow bugs/armadillo bugs/potato bugs/cheese logs/doodlebugs/wood lice.  WHEW!  😅  That is a lot of names!  Did you know they had that many??  I didn't!  But they are all names for this same critter.
After her arthropod search with Daddy, Mags came home and journaled what she had seen.

Day 5

We wrapped Lesson 13 on the fifth day, finishing the "Copywork" in the journal ...
... the "Arthropods Vocabulary Story," and the minibook.
Finally, we completed the review questions for this lesson from CurrClick and added those to our journal, too.
Next up and last for this course?  Lesson 14, "Gastropods and Worms."  Look for that post next week.  Until then, here's a funny.
Catch you later!

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