Insects: Science, Math and Art

This year I have a new STEAM class. I have 3 periods, all year long with mixed grades 7 and 8. At this point, this class does not have as much ‘choice’ as my regular art classes. But I hope to move that direction by 2nd semester.

So far this year, we did a map/ floor plan of the classroom, a couple weeks exploring our computer programs and have now moved into a unit on BUGS. This project was inspired by Stacy Lord’s session at NAEA 2016 Chicago.


We started with looking at actual bugs encased in resin and tons of bug picture books. We spent 3 class periods drawing bugs along with a couple short videos about bug life and anatomy. At the end of this week we had a gallery walk to look at each other’s drawings and give peer feedback. I did this using my musical chairs style gallery walk.

Then I put the students in groups of 2-3 based on their bug preference. (Exit ticket) so for this project they aren’t necessarily working with a friend. Because they didn’t do so great work in groups for the map project, I decided a lesson on working in groups might be in order. We happen to be doing a book study on 21st century skills, and I had to try out one of their lessons anyways. So I had them set up “group rules” (aka group norms for those of us in PLC) and assign group jobs. Kids of course have different priorities, so their group rules looked much different than if I had decided what rules they should have. I did start them out with some suggestions; like do your job, clean up your own messes and listen to each other. They included things like have fun, be at school, don’t be mean, have your supplies.


Next was the buying of supplies. This part ended up being WAY TOO MUCH WORK FOR ME! So note to self..find a different way next time! The idea was to integrate math and some critical thinking by making them select items from a shopping list. Their budget was $12 and everything cost $1. But they had to decide ahead of time what to get. No returning to the ‘store’ to get more wire or a different type of glue. But this left me to fulfill the shopping lists of 30 groups. Next time I think I would have all the supplies out to shop from and have them just check out with me after they gather things themselves.

We are building and painting now. I will update again and share all my resources once we wrap up.