Spiders: An Organism for Teaching Biology
by Debra Scheidemantel
In this unit, the students explore basic ecology concepts and scientific processes using spiders as model organisms. They capture spiders, observe and care for them, and use them to answer their own questions about spider behavior. Modeling the process of a research scientist, each team of students designs and conducts their own experiment. Simultaneously, the class collaborates on joint projects investigating feeding rates of spiders (by pooling individual feeding data) and their importance in controlling the numbers of insects (by conducting a field study on or near school grounds).
The unit includes both teacher and student materials. The teacher materials include teaching tips, scheduling time lines, preparation instructions, and resource materials. The student materials include the lab handouts the students will be using in each of their experiments.
note: All of the spider graphics contained
within this unit were drawn
The University of Arizona
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics
General Biology Program for Secondary Teachers