Our Spider Inquiry

We "found" a little visitor a couple of weeks back in our classroom...a spider!
Yes, he was hiding (or should I saw crawling) right near our blocks area.
All I remember hearing was loud shrieks (of excitement, not fear) from the students.  When I got to that area, I realized that they saw a spider.
So here I am, thinking...what am I going to do with this little fellow?
I am actually quite frightened by insects (yes, even little spiders!) but I thought this would be a great teachable moment.
So I found a small container and we gently scooped our new friend into it.
And so our new spider inquiry began...
The children spent a long time starring and observing the spider in his new home.
They had a lot of questions about how he got into our classroom! 
S.P. - "Why does the spider want to come into our classroom?"
N.T. - "Does he live outside?"
M.P. - "He probably has a family outside looking for him."
We wrote down our wonders about this new pet of ours and set out to find out more about him.
I took a group of students down to the library to get some non-fiction books on spiders.
The children spent a long time looking through and researching about spiders.  They set out to find what kind of spider he was.
They also decided that our new pet needed a name.  So they took a vote.
We ended up deciding on "Phil Kessel" - yes, he is named after a hockey player!
Some children wanted to draw the different spiders they found in the books.  We looked at how many body parts a spider had, how many legs and where his eyes were.
Our class decided that the spider needed a proper home.  So after searching through the books and reading about where spiders live and what they like to be surrounded by and eat, we made a list of things we needed to collect and add to his home.  At recess, we went out to the big field and started collecting twigs, small rocks, grass and leaves.
We learned that a spider has 2 main body parts, pedipalps (to turn his prey into liquid and suck him up) and a spinneret (to make a web).  We also learned that the reason spiders don't stick to their own webs was because they have oil on the bottom of their legs.
We wanted to make our own spider, complete with all the body parts, so we started creating him out of paper mache.
It was so much fun mixing the flour and water together to get things ready!
We also used yarn to create a web hanging from our ceiling to hang our spider on...right on top of our real pet!
The students decided to create insects at the creative table to add to the web.
I wanted to read the students one of my favourite books....Aaargh Spider! by Lydia Monks.  I found the book on You Tube and showed it to them on our Bright Links board....they loved saying "aaargh spider" on each page!
Something happened on the Friday of that week...when the students came to school one child noticed that the door was left open on the cage and "Phil" was gone!  The students thought he had escaped!
We searched all around our classroom for him!
He was nowhere to be found!  So the students decided to make "lost" posters and got to work making these signs to post around the school in the hopes that we would be able to find our lost spider.  We posted them everywhere...including on the staff room door.  Other students from around the school loved helping us look for "Phil".
Something happened last week...while in the library the students found a spider!
But it wasn't "Phil", as they quickly realized that this spider looked a little different.  He was a different colour and a little bigger in size (yikes!)...but they wanted to put him in our cage and observe him too.
One student even made a sign that the spider had been found!
This is a picture of our documentation wall.  I hope to add to it as we learn more about our new spider...whose name is, ready for this..."Hello Kitty".


1 comment

  1. WOW!!! There is no way I would have been able to do that…not even for my Littles! I actually almost started crying as I read this post :) Yes, I am a BIG OL scaredy cat when it comes to those eight legged things…eeeeh! I have goose bumps right now!
    Miss you my sweet friend!


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