Los insectos (Insects)

Submitted by Mary Bartolini

Language: Spanish
Unit Cultural Theme or
Academic Content Area:


Target Audience:

Immersion Elementary
Grade: 1

Proficiency Level:

Novice High



1.1, 1.2, 1.3






Unit Timeframe:

The unit is divided into five lessons of 50 minutes each, plus a summative assessment of 2 periods of 50 minutes each.

Unit Overview:

The lesson topics are stated as questions as a way to engage student interest in each topic:

¿Qué sé sobre los insectos?
¿Qué es un insecto?¿Qué hace que un insecto sea un insecto?
¿Qué necesitan para vivir?
¿Dónde viven y cómo viven los insectos?
¿Cómo nace y crece un insecto?

The main goals of the unit are to develop basic knowledge about insects and to develop the language linked with the theme.  Most of the lessons promote the use of cooperative learning strategies and the use of graphic organizers.


Adams Spanish Immersion School is a magnet school located in the large urban school district of Saint Paul. The school offers instruction from Kindergarten to Sixth grade to 711 students. Instruction in the first two grades is offered 100% in Spanish. Starting in second grade a block of reading and writing is offered in English.

Initially the school program was designed for American students which first language is English. But, the population has changed and more students whose first language is Spanish are part of the school now. Because of this change it was necessary to reconsider the program model the school used to offer. School staff is still in conversation to decide the appropriate changes that need to happen in the school.

The school follows the curriculum proposed by the St. Paul School District. It is implementing Readers and Writers Workshop in all grades. It uses the Every Day Math curriculum proposed by the University of Chicago. It also has the ESL program working in every grade level (pull out system) in order to meet the needs of Latino students in the school. It uses the Responsive Classrooms approach to teach the social curriculum through all the grades.

The theme of the unit is Los insectos (Insects). This unit is one of the themes proposed by the Saint Paul School District Science curriculum for first grade. The unit is included in general themes of the school Cambios (Changes). It will be taught during the last trimester of the school year. Before this unit, students will be exposed to topics like life cycle, classification of animals, living things and their environment, habitats, food chain, etc. Students will also be exposed to cooperative learning strategies so they will be able to work in small groups.

General Unit References and Resources:

References and Resources
Chamot, Anstrom, K., Bartoshesky, A. y otros. (1995). The immersion learning strategies resource guide. National Capital Language Resource Center Georgetown University

Cloud, N. Genesee, F., & Hamayan, E. (2000). Dual language instruction: A handbook for enriched education. Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle.

Hartley, Macro & Taylor. (1998). El saltamontes. Chicago, Illinois: Heinemann Library.

Hartley, Macro & Taylor. (1998). La oruga. Chicago, Illinois: Heinemann Library.

Hartley, Macro & Taylor. (1998). La mariposa. Chicago, Illinois: Heinemann Library.

Hartley, Macro & Taylor. (1998). La cucaracha.Chicago, Illinois: Heinemann Library.

Hartley, Macro & Taylor. (1998). El mosquito. Chicago, Illinois: Heinemann Library.

Jeunesse & De Bourgoing. (1994). La mariquita. Italy: Ediciones SM.

Kucer, S., Silva, C., & Delgado-Larocco. (1995). Curricular Conversations: Themes in multilingual and monolingual classrooms.York, Maine: Stenhouse Publishers.

McLaughlin, M. (2003). Guided Comprehension in the Primary Grades. Newark, DE: International reading Association.

Saint Paul Public Schools District Wide Curriculum, First Grade, 2000-01.

Scale based on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Proficiency guidelines, Revised 1999

Schwartz, David. (1999). La catarina. California: Gareth Stevens Publishing.

Standards-Based Frameworks, K- 6. Saint Paul’s Project for Academic Excellence, August 2004

Whitehouse, Patricia. (2004). La hormiga. Chicago, IL: Heinemann Library.

Foreign Language Standards, ACTFL.

Graphic organizers could also be found at CoBaLTT web site.

The pictures for the attachments were taken from Clip Art from Microsoft Word.

State Content Standards (SPPS curriculum)

  • Science:
    • Data Categorization, Classification, and Recording
    • Direct Science Experience
  • Writing: (SPPS standards-based framework) 
    • Habits and Processes
    • Writing Purposes and Resulting Genres
    • Language Use and Conventions

Concepts and Generalizations or Essential Understandings

  • Possible Generalizations (Essential Understandings):
    • All living creatures are categorized into groups depending on their characteristics.
    • All living being have life cycles.
    • All living creatures have needs and …
  • Related Concepts:
    • Living things and environments
    • Life cycle
    • Food chain
    • Metamorphosis

Links or files for unit content:     A new window will open for each lesson.

Lesson 01: ¿Qué sé sobre los insectos?
Lesson 02: ¿Qué es un insecto? ¿Qué insectos hay?
Lesson 03: ¿Cómo es el cuerpo de un insecto? ¿Qué hace que un insecto sea un insecto?
Lesson 04: ¿Dónde y cómo viven los insectos?¿Qué necesitan para vivir?
Lesson 05: ¿Cómo nacen los insectos?¿Cómo crecen los insectos ?
Unit Assessment