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When a very lonely firefly goes out into the night searching for other fireflies, it sees a lantern, a candle, and the eyes of a dog, cat, and owl all glowing in the darkness. It even sees a surprise celebration of light. But it is not until it discovers other fireflies that it finds exactly what it’s looking for . . .

from The Very Lonely Firefly at

Eric Carle’s classic insect books are great for reading to young students. They also provide a foundation for oodles of lessons. Check out our The Very Lonely Firefly unit study and spend a week learning about fireflies (and more!) with your student.

The Very Lonely Firefly Unit Study Lessons

Here are a few sample lessons from The Very Lonely Firefly unit study:

Language Arts: Listing and Classifying
What objects in the story emitted light? (Make a list)
What other objects give off light? (Add these items to your list)

What objects are objects found in nature? Which objects are manmade (or objects found inside your house?

Language Arts: Letter F
Firefly begins with the letter F. Teach your student the letter F this week as well as the sound it makes.

Science: Fireflies
Fireflies are insects. They have a hard exoskeleton, two compound eyes, two antennae, six legs, three body parts (head, thorax, and abdomen), and wings.

They are unique because they light up! At night, the last abdominal segment glows. This amazing ability is how fireflies (or lightning bugs) get their name.

Ask your student, “Why do you think fireflies glow?” After reading the story, it may be obvious. Fireflies glow in order to attract other fireflies. Males flash about every five seconds while females flash about every two seconds.

Fireflies eat other insects, insect larva, and snails.

Social Studies: Loneliness
You may want to use this book as an opportunity to discuss loneliness. Has your student felt lonely before? When? What can we do when we feel lonely? (Tell someone we trust. Talk about it. Find someone to play with.)

To access all of the lessons in this The Very Lonely Firefly unit study, subscribe to Homeschool Share’s email list using the form in this post.

The Very Lonely Firefly Printable Activities

Many of these The Very Lonely Firefly printables could be used to make a The Very Lonely Firefly lapbook. Some are full page, but you could fold them in half, if you want.

  • Lights I Find in Nature vs. Lights I Find in My House Shutterfold
  • Firefly Facts Matchbook
  • Words That Begin with F Accordion
  • I See Lights Emergent Reader
  • Finding Lights Scavenger Hunt Page
  • Counting Fireflies Mini-book
  • Firefly Observations Jar Shaped Book
  • Firefly Parts Diagram

How to Get Started

Follow these simple instructions to get started with the The Very Lonely Firefly lapbook.

  1. Buy a copy of the book, The Very Lonely Firefly, or find it at your local library.
  2. Print the The Very Lonely Firefly unit study.
  3. Choose the lessons you want to use with your student (a highlighter works great for this).
  4. Choose and prepare the printables you want to use with your student.
  5. Enjoy a week of fun-filled learning with your student.

Download The Very Lonely Firefly Unit Study

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More Eric Carle Insect Units

After you finish your firefly study, try crickets!

The Very Quiet Cricket Unit Study & Printables

Yes, you can study spiders, too! This unit study includes the differences between insects and spiders.

The Very Busy Spider Unit Study and Lapbook