Terrestrial Arthropod Adaptations + Engineering Design

Subjects: Science, Environmental Education, Writing, and Art

Grades: 6-12

Time: 45-90 min

Students explore the extraordinary adaptions and diversity of terrestrial arthropods through short Shape of Life videos and student-centered activities in the 5E Instructional Model. Options to engage students include showing a short clip of an interesting arthropod phenomenon with the audio muted. Then students identify the structures of all arthropods with th esupport of on eor more video segments. Students will record notes about physical and behavioral adaptions, then create a diagram of their favorite arthropod species, labeling its structures and adding annotations to describe their functions.  

Possible Enrich / Extend activities are listed at the end of the lesson, including a design thinking/biomimicry/engineering activity inspired by arthropod adaptations, a comparison activity, and field studies to investigate the arthropods in nearby natural areas.


  • Students will describe terrestrial arthropod adaptations orally and in writing.
  • Students will create labeled diagrams of a terrestrial arthropod species of their choice.
  • If the design process/engineering extension is completed, students will develop and construct a design for a useful invention inspired by one or more arthropod adaptations.
  • If the comparison extension is completed students will compare adaptations of an arthropod species to those of another animal