I begin by introducing students to insects with a powerpoint I've created. We talk about "symmetry" and that insects are symmetrical. I tell students to pretend they are an explorer in the rainforest and you have discovered a new insect. What would it look like? I then create rules for this project. (written on the board)
1. Insects must have three main body parts - head, thorax, abdomen
2. Insects must have 6 legs
3. Insects should have compound eyes and antennas
4. Insects must have original patterns and designs
5. Insects may have details such as wings, stingers, pinchers, etc
The first day students draw their insects with pencil, then trace with black sharpie. I ask students to choose 3 shapes of their choice for each body part. The second day students then begin to color with markers. My father happens to be an entomologist so he can usually scrounge up an insect collection for me to share with my students which they love! (Well mostly, I have some kids that are totally creeped out) Because these drawings are large on 12 x 18" paper it usually takes a third day to complete the coloring.
I also have fifth grade advanced students working on paper mache' birds. I think we are off to a great start!
This is an excellent recycling project. We are using two-liter bottles as our base. The head is formed from newspaper, then covered in aluminum foil. The beak is also aluminum foil hot-glued to the head. Lastly our wings are made from scrap posterboard. I am so eager to see them in paper mache'.