Investigating Insects Teacher's Page
A  WebQuest for Grades  8-12, WebQuest Agricultural Series by Missouri Farm Bureau and Missouri State University

Background Information may be helpful for completing this WebQuest.


Entomology questions

Insect Pictures

Step 1: Discuss the following information with your class.

1. Insect definition

2. Most people call insects bugs but in fact a bug is a specific type of insect.

- Ladybug is actually a Ladybird beetle

- June bug is actually a June beetle

- Lightning bug is actually a Lightning beetle

- Spiders are not insects

3. Beneficial insects vs. pests

- Definition of pest

- Beneficial Insects

Ladybird beetle- controls aphids (greenhouse pest)

Praying mantis- controls bad/ harmful insects

Ambush bug

Ground beetle

Bees (pollination and honey)

Butterflies (pollination)

- Pests




4. Why would people want to study insects?

- It is important to know good insects from bad insects. You need to be able to IDENTIFY the insects to know what they are and how to control them. Stress that insect identification is the most important thing in entomology. If you do not know the identification you may kill a beneficial insect. Have you heard insects while you were outside?

Step 2: Identification

There are lots of different species and orders of insects but we are going to review the most common.

  • Coleoptera- beetles
  • Hemiptera- true bugs
  • Lepidoptera- butterflies and moths
  • Hymenoptera- stinging insects

Look at differences between insect orders: Bugs vs. Beetles

- The main difference between bugs and beetle is noticeable from their back. Bugs
have an X shape pattern whereas beetles have a line straight down their back.
Identify three main body parts

- Head



Lifecycles of the insects of each order are different.

Step 3: Students complete the following assignments

Assignment 1: Start and insect collection. Use an old cigar box, school box, or any box that measures approximately 5" x 10" Place a thin piece of Styrofoam in bottom of box so pin will stay in place. It is also important to have a good supply of straight pins to pin the insects.

Tips On Pinning Insects:

Mounting Insects

Pinning Insects

Assignment 2: Identify the insects that they have collected. Magnifying glasses may be used for smaller insects. Fill out Activity Sheet for each insect. The website can really help in identifying insects.

Step 4: Show pictures from this web site in class and have students identify the insect or order of the insect. Here is another web site for practicing identification (it may be slow to load, but its a good one.)

Step 5: Fun Activities

- If students are daring, they can try their own insect recipe at home.

- You can also play a cricket jumping game.


Rubric for Assignments


25 pts.

20 pts.

15 pts.

10 pts.

5 pts.

0 pts.

Insect Collection

5 insects collected from each order

4 insects from each order 3 insects from each order 2 insects from each order 1 insect from each order 0 insects from each order


5 insects pinned properly 4 insects pinned properly 3 insects pinned properly 2 insects from each order 1 insect from each order 0 insects pinned properly

Activity Sheets

5 insects identified properly using 5 activity sheets 4 insects identified properly using 4 activity sheets 3 insects identified properly using 3 activity sheets 2 insects identified properly using 2 activity sheets 1 insect identified properly using 1 activity sheet 0 insects identified properly using 0 activity sheets

National Education Standards


  • Make decisions about units and scales that are appropriate for problem situations involving measurement.


  • Interdependence of organisms
  • Matter, energy, and organization in living systems
  • Behavior of organisms


Basic Operations and Concepts

  • Students demonstrate a sound understanding of the nature and operation of technology systems.
  • Students are proficient in the use of technology.

Technology Productivity Tools

  • Students use telecommunications to collaborate, publish, and interact with peers, experts, and other audiences.
  • Students use a variety of media and formats to communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences.

Go Back.


This page was developed by Ashley Noblitt, reviewed by Lyndon and the late Barbara Irwin and maintained by Missouri Farm Bureau.

Please address questions to Diane Olson at Missouri Farm Bureau.