Summer Science Wrap-Up: Insects

We have been plugging away with our Apologia Young Explorer Series - Exploring Creation with Zoology 1: Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day. I posted Lesson 9 - our first look at insects here and we are ready to wrap our study up! Here is a quick look at what we have been doing over the summer for science: (at a relaxed and enjoyable pace!)
In Lesson 10 we covered:
  • Life Cycles
  • Finding a Mate
  • Metamorphosis (Complete and Incomplete)
  • Insect Life Styles
  • Insect Defense Systems (camouflage, crypsis, advertisement, mimicry, trickery, chemical defense, bites and stings)
We learned that insect eggs come in all shapes and sizes and can often be found on the underside of a leaf.
Being an egg detective and finding insect eggs on leaves.
In Lesson 11, we covered social insects which include the ant, honeybee, bumblebee, wasps and termites and learned all about them, such as:
  • the job of the queen and drone
  • job of the workers
  • male vs female
  • the fact that the ant keeps aphids as "pets" (they like to eat the honeydew that aphids make)
  • how bees take care of their hive
  • what the bee dance is
  • how bumble bees are different than honey bees
  • how wasps make a nest and what a solitary wasp is
  • how termite social system is different from ants and bees
  • how termites give evidence for creation
  • how to identify a termite
Busy bees gathering pollen in our corn patch.
We studied the honey bee in depth and did a honey bee lapbook here, so much of this was review.
We learned that most ants eat other insects, but some like to eat seeds and fruits and other sweets. And they cannot eat solids (they can only eat liquids)- that surprised us because you always see ants carrying food back to the colony. They do this because the larvae can eat solid foods.
We know ants like sweets, so we did an experiment to learn what ants don't like. We put jelly on 5 small circle plates and put stuff from the kitchen around the jelly to see if it will stop the ants.
Learning about ants and what they don't like!
In Lesson 12, we covered beetles, flies and true bugs. We learned about:
  • Beetle behavior
  • Scarab beetles
  • Fireflies/lightning bugs
  • Lady bugs
  • Flies
  • Mosquitos
  • Robber Flies
  • True bugs (stink bugs, chinch bugs and water bugs really are bugs, but a lady bug is not!)
We spent a lot of time out in nature looking for insects!
In lesson 13, we learned about "Interesting Insects", such as:
  • Praying Mantises
  • Dragonflies and damselflies
  • Waterbabies
  • Crickets, locusts, grasshoppers and katydids
  • Aphids
  • Cicadas
We have lots of these in our corn patch this year!
Try This!
To understand how a shorter wing can make a higher sound than a longer wing, we experimented with water glasses filled with varying amounts of water and listened for the sounds they make when we tapped the glass.
In Nature Friend magazine, we read more about cicadas and saw step by step photos of a cicada emerging from it's skin or "shell" and learned some more interesting facts. A review of this magazine is coming soon!
Our final lesson in this series is on the order Lepidoptera:
We learned:
  • That leps are important pollinators (actually this is review from when we studied AE Botany).
  • About Lep anatomy, migration and metamorphosis.
  • How to identify a butterfly, moth and a skipper.
We did not raise any leps indoors, but rather enjoyed looking for them in nature.
Fun to learn about, but this Lep is a pest!
The tent caterpillar makes a giant cocoon like nest and the larvae eat the leaves off of our chokecherry bushes. Here they are as an immature larvae.
A few of the notebooking pages we made.
We have a few notebooking pages to finish and our books to assemble, but this wraps up our summer study on insects! We began this study last year and then switched to Swimming Creatures so that we could study insects over the summer (rather than the winter). I really enjoyed this book, but I am ready for a break before we begin our new curriculum this fall!


  1. This post is awesome--your pictures are amazing--love your new camera!!

    Your experiment with the different sweets is a great idea.

    That's super that your kids were able to find so many eggs, we looked for a week straight with no luck:-).

    Your week of science is so super, I am impressed and wish we could have joined in on your fun outdoor adventures!!

  2. Those are great pictures, Michelle. I'll pray that you get the rest you need all the way around to begin this new year! In Christ, Kathy

  3. Fun!!!! I also didn't know about the ants not being able to eat solids. I knew they took that food back to feed the larva, but I thought they could eat it, too. Interesting!

  4. Chel -
    Wonder Post! And great lessons!

  5. I read through your post with great fascination. There were so many facts there that I didn't know. I am really looking forward to learning with my daughter when she is older, and hopefully a lot of this learning will be as hands-on as possible. Your pictures are wonderful too - you are a great macrophotographer!