Lesson plan

Build a Bug!

In this hands on activity students will explore the advantages and disadvantages of specialization and interdependence through their creation of paper bugs.
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Grade Subject

Students will be able to define and give examples of specialization and interdependence, as well as identify advantages and disadvantages of specialization and interdependence.

(5 minutes)
  • Explain to the students that in this activity they will be learning about how manufacturers work together to create multiple products.
  • Explain the they will be working together in groups to make the best bugs they can in a set amount of time.
(10 minutes)
  • Divide the students into groups of four.
  • Give each group a space to work and their supplies.
  • Explain that each student in their group will have 5 minutes to create the best bug they can.
(20 minutes)
  • Set the timer for 5 minutes.
  • Avoid giving any feedback to your students except for the amount of time remaining.
  • At the end of the time allow each group to show their completed work and to share what they think they did well and where they fell short. Ask students from other groups to contribute, but guide them to make sure comments are not hurtful.
  • Explain that in this activity each student was depending on herself to complete the bug.
  • Have students discuss why these shortfalls might have occurred.
  • Have the students brainstorm ways to make more and better bugs.
  • Lead them to the idea of having each student work on only one part of each bug.
  • Explain that this technique uses specialization, where individuals become experts in one area of the assembly, and interdependence, where every team member relies on all the others, as each student will only have one job to do and all the students in the group will depend on each other.
(15 minutes)
  • Allow the students a moment to decide on how they will specialize.
  • Give out more templates.
  • Repeat the activity using the specialized roles.
  • Again let the students display their products and discuss how specializing and depending on each other improved their results.
  • Have students discuss how and why their results improved.
  • If any group sees disadvantages to this approach, discuss them too.
  • Enrichment: Advanced students can do the activity without the template.
  • Support: For students with fine motor difficulties, precut the bug templates and only do the coloring portion of the activity. For students who have difficulty dividing up the jobs for the specialized activity, assign roles to the team members.
(5 minutes)
  • As an exit ticket, have the students define specialization or interdependence or give an example of specialization or interdependence from their group.
(5 minutes)
  • Ask volunteers to identify how specialization and interdependence worked in their groups.
  • Ask volunteers to share advantages and disadvantages of specialization and interdependence.

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