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Dinosaur Discoveries

Make a Dragonfly

Help your child learn some basic insect anatomy.

Materials

  • photographs of real dragonflies, from books or the Internet
  • construction paper — pre-cut into a small quarter-sized circle
  • 2 wooden ice-pop sticks or wooden tongue depressors
  • strong tape (such as Duct Tape)
  • 6 pipe cleaners; 2 pipe cleaners cut in 1/3s
  • colored markers
  • white glue (or glitter glue)
  • glitter
  • small googly eyes (optional)
  • stick-on “jewels” (optional)

Preparation

  • Complete a dragonfly per instructions below, to have a model to show your child before she makes her own.

Directions

  1. Ask your child if she’s ever seen a dragonfly. If so, what did it look like? Show her photographs (or video) of dragonflies from books or the Internet. Have her look at these pictures to describe a dragonfly in detail. How many wings does it have? What color(s) are they? How many legs? Does it have antennae? If so, how many? Explain that dragonflies are insects, and that all insects have six legs and two antennae.
  2. Show video clips from “Don’s Dragonfly,” (above) as well as Dr. Scott’s live-action segment on dragonflies.
  3. Show your child the completed dragonfly project, and explain that she will get to make her own. Explain that, like all insects, a dragonfly’s body is divided into three parts: the head, the thorax, and the abdomen. Point out these parts using the model you prepared. The head is obvious, the thorax part of the body below the head to which the wings and legs are attached, and the abdomen is the “tail-like” thing below the thorax (the 2nd ice-pop stick).
  4. Make the Head: Give your child a small construction paper circle. Have her create two eyes by gluing on googly eyes, or drawing eyes with a marker.
  5. Make the Thorax: First, glue the completed head onto the top of a wooden ice-pop stick. Then have your child decorate the rest of the stick with colored markers. Make the four wings by bending 4 pipe cleaners into elongated loops. Use strong tape to attach the two wings to each side of the thorax. Then have your child use the six 1/3 pipe-cleaner pieces to create legs. Next, have them bend little “feet” at the ends of these legs, and attach 3 legs to each side of the “thorax” on the opposite side of the stick that has the 4 wings.
  6. Make the Abdomen: Decorate the second ice-pop stick with markers, glue and glitter, and stick-on “jewels.” Then use strong tape (or glue) to attach this ice-pop stick below the “thorax” one.


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