Symbiosis and Predation in the World of Insects
— A Set-Up-the-Sub Lesson Plan Using a Film Clip from Microcosmos
Subject: Science/Biology (Symbiosis & Predation; Ants, Aphids, & Ladybugs)
Age: 5 - 18; All grade levels
Length: Film Clip: 25 minutes; Lesson: one 45 - 55 minute class period.
When the classroom teacher is absent, this lesson can provide an important learning experience, as well as an opportunity to keep students interested and working.
Learner Outcomes/Objectives: Students will understand and retain striking images of symbiosis and predation in the world of insects.
Rationale: Symbiosis and predation are important concepts of biology. Seeing them in action will help students understand and remember these concepts.
This sample is just a taste of the Set-Up-the-Sub Lesson Plan to Symbiosis and Predation in the World of Insects using Microcosmos.
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Description of the Film Clip: This Set-Up-the-Sub describes four examples of symbiosis and predation in the insect world: (1) bees pollinating plants; the stamens of the flowers actually move to deposit pollen onto the bees; (2) a ladybug that is eating aphids is driven away by the ant which tends the aphids; the ant then strokes the aphids and harvests their honeydew; (3) grasshoppers are caught and eaten by a spider; (4) flying insects are caught by carnivorous plants.
Microcosmos consists of many extraordinary and beautiful shots of insects and is an excellent vehicle on which to base a lesson plan explaining symbiosis and predation in the insect world. There is almost no narration.
How to Use This Guide:
TWM suggests that teachers keep a pre-selected film in their classroom along with any handouts, readings, and other materials that a substitute will need. Be sure to get all of the required permissions from school administrators to allow this snippet to be shown.
As you adapt this lesson to the needs and abilities of your classes, modify the Instructions to the Substitute to take account of any changes you make. [The complete Set-Up-the-Sub Lesson Plan has a link to a word processing file which contains the Instructions.]
- If the class already knows the definition of symbiosis and predation, eliminate all but the first sentence of instruction #1.
- If instruction #4 is retained, tell the substitute whether the quickwrite is to be in the students' notebooks or on loose notebook paper to be handed in.
This lesson is designed so that teachers will need only one class set of handouts.
Instructions to the Substitute:
1. Tell students that this class will be about symbiosis and predation. If necessary, define those terms. Symbiosis occurs when two living organisms of different species depend on one another and both derive benefit from their relationship. Tell students or elicit from class discussion the facts that bees pollinate more than flowers and that much of our food depends upon bees pollinating fruit trees, vegetable plants, and beans. Ask students to think about what the world would be like without oranges, apples, tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables. Predation occurs when one species feeds upon another, like in Africa when the lions feed on the zebra and antelope or when people hunt deer.
2. Start playing the film from DVD Scene 1. Play the film to the end of Clip #3 with brief stops for the introductions and closings set out below or for class discussion. Playing the movie to the end of Clip #3 takes about 22 minutes. You can also talk over this film; it has very little narration.
Introduction to Segment #1: As the clip begins, ask students if they've ever seen a plant move on its own power in response to some stimulus from the environment.
This clip starts with time-lapse photography showing flowers opening. It lasts for a little more than two minutes and ends with a scene of a large tree surrounded by grass.
Closing for clip #1: Tell students that the powdery material being placed onto the bees by the plants is pollen. At the end of this segment run the DVD back for a few seconds to show this remarkable footage again.
4.. Introduction to clip #2: Tell students that aphids are small insects that eat plants and emit a sweet sticky substance called honeydew. Some species of ants use honeydew for food. Ants will tend the aphids and stroke them to encourage the aphids to produce honeydew. Chemicals on the feet of the ants tranquilize and subdue the aphids. Ants will take aphids into their nests during cold weather, returning them to food plants when the weather warms. Ants will also transfer aphids to new feeding sites. Ants store excess honeydew in a separate stomach and regurgitate it for other ants when needed. Ladybugs eat aphids and many gardeners buy ladybugs to release into their gardens to kill aphids.
Clip #2 starts with a ladybug climbing up a plant stalk to clicking sounds and lasts about 2.5 minutes. It ends with ladybugs mating.
Instructions 4 and 5 show teachers how to get the most out of the remaining segments of the snippet.
5. After clip #4, as time allows, describe the additional examples of symbiosis found in the Supplemental Materials below.
If there is time, present the following information to the class.
Almost every animal constantly interacts with other animals and with plants. Symbiosis occurs when two living organisms of different species depend on one another and both derive benefit from their relationship. Here are a few examples.
(1) Clownfish live within the stinging tentacles of anemones. The anemone provides protection and food for the clownfish who in turn cleans the anemone of debris. Clownfish may even swim out onto the reef and, with their bright colors, lure other fish to their host anemone to be stung and trapped in the tentacles.
The remaining part of the Set-up-the-Sub Lesson Plan describes two other instances of symbiosis that children will find interesting.
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The film clip from Microcosmos will enhance lessons about symbiosis, predation and insects by giving showing them images that students will retain well into adulthood.
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