administration student task rubric student work technical quality
Insects and Spiders
Administration Procedures
Contributed by: Illinois Science Teachers Association (ILS)


Students construct an insect or a spider, then justify their design.

The task assesses primary students' abilities to perform process skills such as classification by using observable differences and similarities.

This task is designed to take students approximately 20-30 minutes to complete.

Overall Task Content Area:

Life Science

Specific Knowledge Areas:

Characteristics of organisms

Performance Expectations:

  • applying scientific principles to develop explanations and solve new problems

National Science Education Standards:

4 A SI 1: Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry: Grades K-4
1.5 Communicate investigations and explanations. Students should begin developing the abilities to communicate, critique, and analyze their work and the work of other students. This communication might be spoken or drawn as well as written.

4 C LS 1: Characteristics of organisms: Grades K-4
1.2 Each plant or animal has different structures that serve different functions in growth, survival, and reproduction. For example, humans have distinct body structures for walking, holding, seeing, and talking.

(Use the "hot" link on the PALS home page to check the full text of related National Science Education Standards, if desired.)

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics:

MEAS1: Understand measurable attributes of objects and the units, systems, and processes of measurement:
Grades 6-8 j.
understand both metric and customary systems of measurement

MEAS2: Apply appropriate techniques, tools, and formulas to determine measurements:
Grades 6-8 k. select and apply techniques and tools to accurately find length, area, volume, and angle measures to appropriate levels of precision

PS2: Solve problems that arise in mathematics and in other contexts:
Grades 6-8

CON3: Recognize and use connections among mathematical ideas:
Grades 6-8

General Instructions to the Teacher:

This task is designed to take students approximately 20-30 minutes to complete.

Students will be working individually during this exercise.

Students should be ready to work as soon as the period begins. The materials should be set out at each lab station, if possible. A central supply area, if needed, should be easily accessible. All supplies should be clearly labeled.

Materials for "Insects and Spiders":

At this station students should have:

  • pipe cleaners
  • construction paper
  • clay
  • toothpicks
  • tape
  • scissors
  • glue

Advance Preparation:

  • Be sure materials are present in sufficient quantities.
  • This station is based on the premise that your students have studied the distinguishing characteristics of arthropods, specifically insects and spiders. Contrasting characteristics such as number of legs, body parts, and the presence or absence of antennae, wings, and legs are important criteria.


  • Be careful.
  • Teachers and students should always exercise appropriate safety precautions and utilize appropriate laboratory safety procedures and equipment when working on science performance tasks.


  • N/A

Advance Preparation Set Up:

Organize student work station.


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