Are your students ready to learn all about creepy crawlies this year? These free resources to learn about arthropods will go great alongside your creepy crawler unit study.
Creepy crawlers are not my favorite topic, but they are important creatures for kids to learn about. We live with arthropods all around us, more so than any other animals – even your beloved pets.
Why study arthropods?
In biology, a phylum is a level of classification or taxonomic category. It is below what’s considered a kingdom and above a class.
Arthropods are everywhere and therefore are the largest animal phylum. Arthropods account for 85% of all the known animals in the entire world. There are more species of arthropods than there are species in all other phyla combined.
That is way too many for me to comprehend or want even to comprehend. Yet, I know the Lord has created it that way, so I guess we will deal with it. As much as we hate seeing them around us, thankfully, many don’t want to see us either.
Although there many, many arthropods in the world, they each share a few important distinguishing characteristics.
Here are some distinguishing arthropod characteristics:
They all have an exoskeleton.
All arthropods are invertebrates meaning they do not have internal bones. Because of this, they have a hard exoskeleton made of chitin (a mix of proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates). This outer exoskeleton covers the body and protects their bodies like a suit of armor.
They molt (shed) this exoskeleton at least once in their lifetime. It takes only a few minutes to molt and a few hours for the new exoskeleton to form.
Interestingly, in the period they molt their exoskeleton, they are also super vulnerable to predators. Predators eat approximately 80-90% of them during this short period that they are molting.
Arthropods have segmented bodies.
This means that their bodies are made up of different parts. They are internally and externally segmented. The segmentation varies between species. For instance, flies have three segments, and spiders have two segments.
These creatures have something called bilateral symmetry.
Bilateral symmetry is a cool way of saying that their bodies can be divided vertically (down the middle) and display two mirror images.
Jointed legs/appendages make these animals creepy crawlies.
The Greek meaning of arthropod is “arthro,” meaning joint and “pod,” meaning foot. Their joined limbs are attached to their hard exoskeletons, which allow them flexibility and movement.
Arthropods also have an open circulatory system.
We have a circulatory system that is made of interconnected veins and capillaries. However, an arthropod’s blood is pumped through open spaces in their bodies called sinuses to reach its tissues. That’s some pretty interesting stuff for kids to learn about.
Grab some free resources to learn about arthropods in your homeschool:
All About Arthropods | KidZone
Arthropod facts for kids | Kids.Kiddle
Resources for Teaching about Arthropods | Simple Science
Circle the Arthropods FREE Worksheet | All Kids Network
Arthropods (Arachnid, Insect, etc.) Vocabulary Activity – FREE Graphic Organizer | KeepItSimpleStudents
Life Cycle Mobiles for an Arthropod FREEBIE | Simply Science
Add these videos to your lessons on arthropods.
The Arthropods | Educational Video for Kids
Arthropods (Arthropoda Classes) Chart FREE Video | KeepItSimpleStudents
Insect Videos for Kids | Primary Theme Park
These activities will go great alongside your lessons for some interactive learning fun.
STEM Club: Investigating Arthropods | Eva Varga
Insect Clothespin Craft for Kids! | Little Passports
I Have Who Has Arthropods Game FREEBIE | Simply Science
Understanding Arthropods – Taxonomy FREE Activity | Wiseman Learning
Handprint Crab Keepsake Printable – Kid Craft Idea | Glued to my Crafts
Arthropods are divided into four different groups:
- myriapods (including centipedes and millipedes)
- arachnids (including spiders, mites, and scorpions)
- crustaceans (including slaters, prawn and crabs)
Grab these free resources to learn about arthropods divided by their groups below:
Insect FREE Fact Cards | Stay at Home Educator
FREE All About Insects Nature Study Printable Packet | Mom Wife Homeschool Life
Insect Nature Study FREE Printables – Learning About Bugs | Homeschool Creations
FREE Butterfly Unit: Printables, Activities & More! | FREE Homeschool Deals
Butterfly Printables (FREE) | Montessori Nature
Butterfly FREE Unit Study | The Crafty Classroom
Life Cycle of a Butterfly FREE Resources and Printables | Around the Kampfire
FREE Preschool Science Lesson: Learning About Bees | SpellOutLoud
Bees FREE Unit Study | Year Round Homeschooling
Easy Bee Life Cycle FREE Learning Kit | Thrifty Momma’s Tips
Learning About Bees Activities and FREE Printable | A Little Pinch of Perfect
Myriapods (including centipedes and millipedes)
Myriapods, the Many-Legged Arthropods | ThoughtCo.
Myriapoda Facts for Kids | Kids.Kiddle
FREE Centipede Coloring Page | SuperColoring
Arachnids (including spiders, mites, and scorpions)
Arachnid Nature Club Hike – FREE Arachnid Journal Page | Kathy’s Cluttered Mind
FREE Insects & Spider Silhouette Cards | The Pinay Homeschooler
Montessori-inspired Arachnid Activities for Preschoolers FREE Printable | Every Star is Different
(FREE) Spider Lap Book | Preschool Powol Packets
Life Cycle of a Spider FREE Printables and Resources | Simple Living Mama
Scorpion Anatomy FREE Worksheet | Education.com
Crustaceans (including slaters, prawn, and crabs).
Crab Anatomy FREE Worksheet | Education.com
FREE Crab Printables | ThoughtCo.
Crab Facts & FREE Worksheets | KidsKonnect
Crustaceans Printable Coloring Pages (FREE) | Coloring All
Arthropods can fly, they crawl, and they creep all over the place. They can live on land, the ocean, and in ponds. Undoubtedly, these versatile creatures are ones we will come in contact with more than any other in our lifetime.
Although we may not love being surrounded by these creepy crawlers, they remain some of the most interesting animals in the world.
Jeannette is a wife, mother and homeschooling mom. She has been mightily, saved by grace and is grateful for God’s sovereignty throughout her life’s journey. She has a Bachelor in English Education and her MBA. Jeannette is bi-lingual and currently lives in the Tongan Islands of the South Pacific. She posts daily freebies for homeschoolers!