Educators Smithsonian Education
Under the Spell of...Spiders
Lesson Plan 1

Creatures from Planet X
(Note: this lesson introduces the topic of spiders and should be done BEFORE you begin discussing them with your students)

  • describe several physical characteristics of spiders
  • discuss spider habits


science, art


1. Tell the students to imagine a mystery planet — Planet X — where millions of fascinating life forms exist. Explain that among these life forms is a particularly bizarre and amazing group of creatures.

2. Pass out copies of the creature profile and tell the children that the list represents basic data about these strange life forms.

3. Review any vocabulary from the profile that the students may be unfamiliar with, such as "appendages," "receptors," "disperse," and so on. See the glossary for answers to some of these terms.

4. Have each student use the profile information to draw a picture of one or more of the creatures. Encourage students to elaborate on their drawings by putting the creature in some kind of context. For example, they could draw the creature within its habitat, in the process of catching a meal or eating, or hatching from an egg.

5. Tell the students to think about what they'd call such a creature if they were the scientist who discovered it.They can even label their drawings with the creature's name and features.

6. Have the students share their artwork. Then tell them that actual photographs exist of the creatures from Planet X. Show the students pictures of spiders and reveal that Planet X is the Earth. Ask them if any of their drawings look like spiders.

Required Materials

Creatures from Planet X Profile

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