I did this activity with my third graders this week and they LOVED it! We’ve been working on finding the main idea and supporting details of texts, which can be a difficult skill to master! After spending two days working on this I am confident that they have a much better understanding of what main ideas and details are and how to find them, and they also had a great time in the process! This is a perfect project for October that you can display all month to decorate your classroom or hallways for Halloween!
This file includes a template for making a spider (body, head, legs and eyes), three separate reading passages on three different spiders (tarantulas, brown recluse, and black widow), task cards that give step-by-step directions that you can print off or display for students to follow, and a “cake” graphic organizer I like to use with my students to record information from a passage on the topic, main idea, and supporting details. This has been a helpful tool for students to see how authors expand information from the topic (1-2 words), to the main idea about the topic (what’s the big idea the author wants you to understand about the topic), and what details support the main idea and prove it to be true. You can let students pick which passage they want to read and do it independently, or you could put students in small groups or pairs and let them collaborate on the project.
You can do this craft a few different ways depending on what you want the final product to look like:
1. Use watercolor paint to make colorful spiders! My students enjoyed making the head, body, and legs different colors, and making color patterns on the legs. After painting the body parts sit them aside to let them dry for about 45 minutes, then cut them out. Students can write the main idea and details with marker directly onto the body & legs.
2. You can print the body parts on cardstock and use them as stencils. Trace around the stencils on black or brown construction paper to make a realistic looking spider. Students can use a white colored pencil or crayon to write the main idea & details.
3. Let students color their spider with crayons, colored pencils, or markers to make it look like the spider they read about (brown recluse, tarantula or black widow). Have students write the main idea & details FIRST, then color around the words so they are easily visible.
*You can also do the spider’s eyes in one of three ways. Googly eyes, cut and paste the eyes on the template, or let students draw them on with black markers.*