Book Studies

Free Nature Studies: Spider Weavers

Free Nature Studies: Spider Weavers

 

Read the current chapter online: “Spider Weavers”

The lesson on spiders is broken into two parts; this first part focusing on  its web, and the next lesson on its nest and eggs.

 Takeaway: Spiders operate their own “silk factories” and are incredible weavers.

 

Suggestions
  • Read a story about how weavers used the lessons taught them by a spider to weave beautiful cloth (see resources below).
  • “Tatiana, queen of the fairies,” probably refers to the Tatiana in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.  You can read a simple re-telling of that story by E. Nesbit from Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare or by Charles and Mary Lamb from Tales from Shakespeare.
  • Look at a magnified view of the spider’s spinneret by “MicroAngela” at the University of Hawaii
  • Examine a thread (silk if you have it) under a magnifying glass to see all of the different strands.  Braid three thread pieces together.  Compare the strength of the braid to the single thread.  Read what the Bible says about a cord of three strands in Ecclesiastes 4:12.  You can also view a magnification of silk fibers at Florida State University.
  • Use the information on collecting spider webs below to measure a web.  Record the results in the notebook.
  • View a spider’s “telephone line” at the Penn State Extension.
  • You can watch a spider spin a web in the video below.
  • After reading the lesson, have your student narrate (written or oral) how the spider catches its prey.
  • Read the poem “The Spider and the Fly” by Mary Howitt.
  • You can see a trap door spider in action in the video below.
  • Compare and contrast the differences between spiders and insects.
  • Something to do #1:  You’ll find a notebooking page for drawing spider webs below.  You can also use Drawing & Writing Paper.
  • Something to do #2 & #3: You’ll find notebooking paper for drawing spider webs and outside observation sheets below.
  • Something to do #4: You’ll find the story of “Bruce and the Spider” in James Baldwin’s Fifty Famous Stories Retold or in the poem “King Bruce and the Spider” by Eliza Cook.
  • Something to do #5: The man fleeing from his enemies who was once saved by a spider is David, according to Jewish tradition.  You can read more in the Jewish Encyclopedia.
  • Something to do #6: For the card, make a neat kirigami spider web to paste on the card.
  • Memorize and recite James 1:4a or Ecclesiastes 7:8b.
  • Use the Psalm 104:24 for copywork or dictation.
  • More of the spider’s story from the Book of Knowledge:

    The spider trails a dragline thread wherever it goes and thus covers soil, plants and buildings with silken lines. These are easily seen in the morning when covered with dew. In our homes these draglines become heavy with dust and lint and break loose to hang as unkempt cobwebs. Sometimes the wind picks up the thick covering of silk on our meadows and, carrying it for long distances, drops it in flakes and sheets.

    Spider silk is a very fine and strong material.  The average dragline of dry silk is probably less than 1/10,000 of an inch in diameter, and some lines are only 1/1,000,000 of an inch.  For many years spider threads were used for cross hairlines or markers in the lenses of certain optical instruments.

    “Spiders and Their Airy Webs,” The Book of Knowledge

  • Spiders
    Ready to go outdoors? The Handbook of Nature study covers spiders beginning on page 435.

 

Further Investigation

A Spider’s Silky Strength
A look at what makes a spider’s web so strong at the Society for Science and the Public’s student site.

Spider Anatomy
Complete information at the University of Kentucky Etymology Department.

Spider Eye Arrangements
A close-up of the different ways the eight eyes may be arranged on various types of spiders at Iowa State University Etymology.

The Spider
32-page download for older students.

Introduction to Spiders
Information for older students from the Illinois State Museum.

 

Activities

The Trapdoor Spider
Incredible BBC video.  Watch how quickly the trapdoor spider reacts!  (The spider does catch a beetle in the video.)

Spider-Spotter Checklist
Wonderful guide to exploring spider webs from the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Collect a Spider Web
How-to from KidsTime4Jesus.org.

Testing the Strength of a Spider Web
Ideas from Ask a Scientist.

Edible Spiders
Learn spider anatomy…that’s tasty! An activity at sedl.org.

 

Books

Free Nature Studies: Spider WeaversThe Spider Weaver by Margaret Musgrove.
The story of how two weavers use the lessons taught them by a spider’s web to create a beautiful cloth.

Nature Stories for Young Readers by Florence Bass
The book on which the second volume of the Christian Liberty Nature Readers is based provides a story-type introduction to spiders beginning on page 14 and continuing through page 32.

The Life of the Spider by Jean-Henri Fabre
Living book for older students.  Particularly interesting is Chapter XII: ” The Garden Spiders: The Telegraph-Wire.”

The Spider Book by J.H. Comstock
Prominent researcher of his time in entomology specializing in spiders and their relatives, and husband of Anna Botsford Comstock (Handbook of Nature Study), this heavily illustrated public domain work covers in detail the classification and habits of spiders and their relatives.

 

Printables & Notebooking Pages

Garden Spider’s Web
A downloadable copy of the illustration on page 42 for notebook.

Spider Anatomy Diagram
Diagram to label for notebook.

Webby Wonders
Nature journal page from Ranger Rick (October).

Free Nature Studies: Spider WeaversSpiders Mini-Book
Not free, but minimal-cost and very well done 71-page notebooking/lapbooking resource for summing up from Notebooking Nook.  Activities 7-10 are pertinent to the spider’s web; the rest of the activities can be used in the next lesson.

Drawing & Writing Notebooking Paper {Free Download}Drawing & Writing Notebooking Paper {Free Download}
For making the drawings in Something to Do #1.

Nature Journal Notebooking Sets {Free Download}Nature Journal Notebooking Sets {Free Download}
Free blank nature journal sets for drawing, illustrating, copying, or narrating.

Spider Weavers Notebooking Pages
Simple pages for copywork, narrations, or wrapping up.

 

Enjoy the complete series:

Free Nature Studies: Our Wonderful World