A Bugs Life: STEM style

At our library last night, I really got an opportunity to be creative and have fun with a new idea, incorporating STEM activities into our movie programs. For A Bug’s Life, I really wanted the kids to have an idea of how bugs moved and functioned, and to take a look at the bugs in the movie up close and personal (through pictures and examples). I had three activities planned for the intermission, depending on the size of the group and age levels, and I’ll place all of them here.


A Bug's LifeOpening Credits (5 minutes) Walking in front of the screen, wearing green, antennas optional! Say: Welcome to this library program. We’re screening A Bug’s Life, which is a film about ants that get bullied by grasshoppers. We’ll find out what happens when one brave ant hires warrior bugs to protect his friends and family. And we’ll also look at how ants and other bugs move, and we’ll have some time to look at all of our awesome bees nests, bugs, and pictures of what Flik and his friends look like under a magnifying glass! Turn to someone sitting next to you and tell him or her what kind of bug you’d like to be if you had to choose one– Whats your favorite kind of bug? Now turn to someone else and tell them about a bug that sometimes scares you. Can anyone tell me something that bugs are very good at doing? (adorable answers: Bugs are good at carrying things, bugs are good at digging, bugs are good at jumping) I like this movie because it shows that even if you are small, you can do some very important things. About the Intermission Talk about snacks (popcorn in our case), exits, bathrooms, cellphones. Do you all have snacks? We’ll have an intermission in about an hour, and that will be a time to load up on more snacks, take a bathroom break and get up and move around. Now lets watch A Bug’s Life! Intermission (after 56 mins, when Hopper say’s “Lets Ride!) (10-12 minutes) After you have paused the movies, gradually turn the lights back on. What an adventure! In 10 minutes, we’ll resume, so this is a great time to take a bathroom break or get some more popcorn! Go ahead and take a look at the tables so you can see what the bugs look like in real life! (3 minutes) Does anyone want to play a game? (7-9 minutes)

GAMES (3 Options)


 Option 1: Song and Dance, Youngest Group We’re going to look at how bugs move while we sing songs! Everyone follow along with the actions of our bugs! (Tune of Frere Jacques) Beetle Crawling beetle, crawling beetle. On the ground, on the ground Crawling Crawling Crawling All around, all around Cricket Hopping cricket, Hopping cricket In the grass, in the grass, Hopping, Hopping, Hopping Hopping, Hopping, Hopping Very fast, Very Fast Bumble Bee Busy bumble bee, busy bumble bee, In the air, in the air Flying, flying, flying Flying, flying, flying Buzzing here, buzzing there.


Option 2: Bug Movement (Elementary School age) Warm Up- Insect Body Parts

  • Imagine your arms antenna and explore the air with you antenna. Touch the antenna of the person beside you with your antenna. Practice moving you antenna high and low, fast and slow.
  • Imagine that you have delicate wings on your back. Move your back and arms like you are flying

Preparation for having six legs

  • Imagine that you only have 1 leg. Freeze in a shape balancing on one leg when you clap, or strike a drum. Try different ways of balancing each time I clap.
  • Imagine that you have 3 legs. Free in a shape where you have 3 legs on the ground when you strike the drum.
  • Imagine that you have 6 legs. Travel across the room, low to the ground like a six legged creature.

    Option 3: Large Mixed Group (This is the one I used)

  • Everybody think in groups of what kind of bug you would like to be, and choose one.
  • Call out as a group what kind of bug you were thinking of!
  • Everyone try to be that bug with me!
  • Bee’s buzz, worms wiggle, and ladybugs FLY AROUND THE ROOM!

At the end of the film, we provided them with more time to look at the pictures with the magnifying glasses, and play with the bugs! Fantastic program, approximately 2 hours 15 minutes long, with distractions and interruptions.

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