Spying on Spiders

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Science, Life Science

Grade 1- 3


Students will answer the following question: How do scientists in the rain forest learn more about the creatures that live there?


Setting the Stage
Explain to the students that today they are going to learn how scientists study animals and insects in the rain forest. Ask if any of them know how scientists might do this. Then explain that scientists watch the creatures up close. Scientists look for things that they eat, what they do, and how they spend their days.

  1. Get the spider's home ready. Place some dirt in the bottom of the jar.
  2. Add a small piece of sponge and a twig to the bottom of the jar. Dampen the sponge with water.
  3. Punch small holes in the lid of the jar.
  4. Catch a spider for his new home. Place only one spider in a jar, please.
  5. Look in corners and near the ceiling for a spider. When you find one, put the drinking glass over it and slide the tag/poster board over the glass to trap the spider.
  6. Transfer the spider to its new home. Keep the sponge damp and provide food for the spider daily.
  7. Spend about 10-15 minutes a day watching your spider. Do this over a period of a couple of weeks. Then the spider can be released if you wish or kept longer.
  8. Have the students fill in the Tangled Web Activity Sheet.
Go to the library and find a book about spiders. Write a story or a poem about spiders. Draw pictures of different kinds of spiders.
Have students keep a spider diary as part of their journals. Have them write about their spiders daily and explain what is happening with their spiders.


  • jar with lid
  • magnifying glass
  • live flies or mealworms
  • small amounts of dirt
  • piece of sponge
  • water
  • drinking glass
  • piece of tagboard or poster board
  • Tangled Web Activity Sheets (see link below)

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