The Spider Enigma

Continuing on with Fairbanks Museum’s new 2017 theme of insects, my new class topic may not classify as an insect with their eight legs, but it certainly coincides with all the good aspects and symbiotic relationships they bring to our world.

Today was my first day teaching The Spider Enigma, to a visiting second grade class. The first thing I asked, with a display of hands, who liked spiders and who didn’t like them. It was 3-12, no surprise, but the follow up was telling them my hope was that they left the class with a new found respect for spiders.

From the basic facts and details about spiders, to specific spiders like my favorite the Bagheera Kiplingi and NASA’s space-traveler Nefertiti, and focusing on the vital necessities they offer in both the natural world and our own home worlds. Take a look below at some of my favorite slides from the 30 slide presentation.¬†The Golden Orb Weaver, Wolf spider, and photos of the spider having a meal were taken by me!

I had construction paper and color pencils ready for when the presentation was over so we could make our own spider webs! My last slide didn’t have a ladder example, which was even better, so I could show them the difference between how its spun differently than the orb web. Students did so well at this part, especially when being instructed they had to include in their drawing something the web was attached to. One student did exceptionally well copying my ladder web, even being the only one who picked this design!

Now the best part of the class was getting to move our bodies and dance along to YMCA while we watched the male Peacock spider display his adorable mating dance.


Onto gearing up for the four week online workshop training for the Earth Science Toolkit!

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4 thoughts on “The Spider Enigma

  1. This is great! The slides and photos are great, too! I really love spiders. It’s a shame so many people are so troubled by them. I’ve wondered if not for the stars and skies constantly pulling me toward them, if I’d have fallen for spiders. Did you know there used to be a spider constellation? It was called Aranea, small, near Virgo, but it isn’t recognized by astronomers anymore. They’ve moved onto other things, I suppose.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love spiders, too, always have. One thing I told them was I learned in my research for the class that releasing spiders outside when we catch them is actually not as humane as we think, data has shown spiders we find inside have adapted to living inside, meaning the outside world is much too harsh for survival often. I told students to just put spiders in their kitchen cupboards and forget it about them, they thought that was hilarious.

      I’m going to have to look into Aranea, I adore the name and I’d love to learn more about it. Thank you, as always, for sharing your wealth of knowledge!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome! Good luck with Aranea. I haven’t checked in a while, but the last time I did, I remember thinking info on it was kind of, let’s say, not there. There were other ones, too, an earthworm, a slug. The mid-1700s were a funny time.

        I tell my kids the same thing about spiders. Every time we find one, even the big, exotic, cartoonish kind, I tell them it’s fine to look but we should leave it be, let it stay in the house. It’s not interested in us and it came inside for a reason.

        Liked by 1 person

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