Take children outside to a grassy area to look for and observe grasshoppers. Have children bring their own notebooks or field/nature journals to draw pictures or make notes in. Remind children to be respectful of the grasshoppers. Survey which plants they grasshoppers are eating. Find out where they hide.
Create a terrarium together that will house several grasshoppers for a week. Use soil and grass (return to field study area to collect or collect while out observing grasshoppers). Include places for the grasshoppers to climb and hide. Providing water is not necessary because grasshoppers do not drink water, they get enough water from the food they eat. Be sure to provide fresh grass or leafy plants, as well as dry food such as grass seed or oatmeal, every day for the grasshoppers to eat. Let the children be active participants in setting up the terrarium. Tips for terrarium preparation and care are available on the Growing Up WILD website.
Once your terrarium is set up, return to your grasshopper field study location and carefully capture and collect four to six grasshoppers using insect nets and bug jars. Place the grasshoppers in the terrarium.
Over the course of a week give children time every day to observe and monitor the grasshoppers. Ask: What do you want to learn about grasshoppers? How can you find out the answers to your questions? For younger children you may want to have a set observation for each day. For example, Day One: observe the grasshopper’s bodies. What do you notice? Count the legs and antennae. How can you tell the grasshoppers have wings? Describe their eyes Day Two: observe the movement of the grasshoppers. Describe how the grasshoppers walk. How do they jump? Are they fast? Do they jump high/far?
At the end of the week when the study is over, return the grasshoppers to the location where you collected them. Use the information you gathered as a class to create your own book about grasshoppers.