Whether you call them lightning bugs or fireflies, these little creatures are fun to see and catch during the summertime. To help you teach your kids all about lightning bugs, here is a free unit study and lightning bugs unit study resource to download. Be sure to bookmark this page to easily come back as often as you want (or need).
Free Lightning Bugs Unit Study
What are lightning bugs?
They are soft-bodied beetles that are commonly called fireflies, glowworms, or lightning bugs. They make use of their bioluminescence during the twilight (right before dark, but after sunset) hours to attract mates or prey. Fireflies produce a “cold light”, with no infrared or ultraviolet frequencies. This chemically produced light from the lower abdomen may be yellow, green, or pale red.
Where can they be found?
They can be found in temperate and tropical climates, which is why you will most likely see a few in your backyard. Many can be found in marshes or in wet, wooded areas where their larvae have abundant sources of food. While all known fireflies glow as larvae, only some adults produce light.
Fireflies Life Cycle
Fireflies undergo a transformation called complete metamorphosis. A few days after mating, the female will lay her fertilized eggs on or just below the surface of the ground. The eggs will then hatch three to four weeks later, and the larvae feed until the end of the summer. The larvae are commonly called glowworms. The term glowworm is also used for both adults and larvae of species.
How do lightning bugs create light?
Light production in fireflies is due to a type of chemical reaction called bioluminescence. This process occurs in specialized light-emitting organs, usually on a firefly’s lower abdomen. All fireflies glow as larvae. In lampyrid larvae, bioluminescence serves a function that is different from that served in adults. It appears to be a warning signal to predators since many firefly larvae contain chemicals that are distasteful or toxic.
Educational Videos About Lightning Bugs
Use the list of videos below to help your children see and learn more about firelfies:
- Fireflies: Nature’s Baffling Blinkers
- Firefly Facts for Kids
- Why Do Fireflies Glow?
- Firefly Light Show
- Firefly Experience – Summer Night with Fireflies
Books About Fireflies
- National Geographic Kids Readers: Bugs (Pre-reader)
- Leo the Lightning Bug
- The Bug Book and Bug Bottle
- Fireflies, Glow-worms, and Lightning Bugs: Identification and Natural History
- Dr. Seuss Discovers: Bugs
- Nature Bound Bug Catcher with Habitat Bucket and 7 Piece Nature Exploration Set
- Bug Catcher & Mini Binoculars Kit
- Nature Bound Toys Critter Cage Bug
- Creativity for Kids Make Your Own Firefly Light Craft Kit
Free Lightning Bugs Unit Study Resource
I created this resource as the perfect study to do with your kids during the summertime. It has an informational page, word search puzzle, fill-in-the-blank, and more. Snag your free copy below!