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Art & Writing...A lesson inspired by "Some Smug Slug" by Pamela Duncan Edwards

A Writing and Art Project from WritingFix
Writing Project: Alliterative Sentences Art Project: A Decorated Insect

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The Art Lesson:
Karo Syrup Insects

This writing and art project was written by Northern Nevada teacher Jennifer Floyd during the NNWP's inservice class on Art & Writing Projects. Jennifer is a second grade teacher in Northern Nevada.

This page contains the art portion of this two-part lesson. Click here to view the accompanying writing lesson plan.

Art Lesson Overview:

The seasons traveling in an eternal circle spring to summer to fall to winter and to spring again fascinate young and old. This project reaches across the curriculum combining science, math, art and writing.

Lesson Materials:

Art Lesson Instructions:

  • Enlarge the templates from this lesson to fit on an 8.5" x 11" page. Have students pick an insect (from one of the four templates) and then trace an insect template with a pencil onto the tag board.
  • Trace over lines with black sharpie. Be sure that the students add any additional lines that need to be drawn inside the insect to make it look like the insect. (i.e. Draw the stripes for the bumble bee, draw the line down the middle for the lady bug, complete the body portion of the dragonfly and butterfly and draw in the design on the wings.)
  • Mix Karo Syrup and food coloring in a bowl. Swirl around with a popsicle stick. I recommend not mixing it completely up, it gives a better affect when they are using it.
  • Let students paint their insects using a mixture of colors. Be sure they apply a lot of the paint mixture; it makes the insects more vibrant.
  • Add beads for compound eyes.
  • Let dry; this takes about 48 hours. When done drying cut out insects and glue pipe cleaners on for the legs and antennae.
  • Create a background and glue insect onto the background. Ideas for the background are using watercolors or chalk drawings.


Some Teaching "Hints" from this Lesson's Author:

  • Make sure you plan plenty of time for this project, it’s not easy to leave karo syrup and come back to it after a recess, it starts to harden up pretty quick.
  • Remember not to wear white on the day of this project…you don’t want to ruin your clothes with food coloring.
  • Last, you might want to wear gloves if you want to avoid getting food coloring all over your hands.


We're Seeking Photographed Student Samples:

Teachers: We're looking for photographed student samples for this lesson that we can feature here. Do you have a revised and edited sample to share? Take a photo of the final product, and send attachments to us at Please write "Alliteration Insects" in your e-mail's subject line. If we publish your sample here, we will send you a complimentary copy of one of the NNWP's Print Publications for your classroom.

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