Most of us grow up with a dislike for all things creepy and crawly – spiders, lizards, cockroaches and other insects. At their age, however, primary school kids will be more tolerant and curious about little creatures from the animal world. It is, therefore, just the right time to introduce them to the interesting world of mini-beasts, so that they grow up, unlike most adults, knowing and appreciating these little creations of nature.
A teacher does not have to go too far or take any special trouble to teach children about insects or creatures similar to insects. Take spiders, for instance – you are never too far away from one. You will find them in dusty little nooks and crevices assiduously making their webs.
Spiders are often confused with insects but in reality they are not insects at all. Spiders and their relatives, the scorpions, ticks and mites are arachnids. They differ from insects in several ways. Where insects have a distinct head, a thorax and an abdomen, arachnids have a cephalothorax (a fused head and thorax) and the abdomen. Insects have six legs, compound eyes and jaws that can chew up their food. Arachnids have eight legs, and simple eyes, and their jaws are designed to pierce their prey. Also, arachnids cannot fly, whereas most insects can.
This article has been adapted from an article by Indrani Roy in Teacher Plus March-April 1999.