Introduction: Tell students
that in many animal species, the father helps care for babies. One example is giant water bugs that live in ponds all
across North America. The mother water bug releases her eggs on the father’s back, and she releases
a gluey substance that makes the eggs stick. From then on, it’s up to the father to care for the one hundred or more
eggs. It takes twelve days for the eggs to hatch. The following poem describes
a father water bug’s busy day.
I’ve got eggs.
Real tight schedule:
I’ve got eggs.
Up at dawn
to clean the eggs.
to rinse the eggs.
Swim up top
to warm the eggs.
Dive down fast
to hide the eggs.
Sit in sun
to dry the eggs.
Life is tough
when you’ve got eggs.
Sometimes all I see are eggs!
heavy, tickly, twisty eggs.
What to do?
Need more eggs.
Poem by Joyce
Sidman from Just Us Two: Poems about Animal Dads. Brookfield,
CT: The Millbrook Press, Inc., 2000, unpaged. ISBN: 0761315632.
a) Pair this poem with the following nonfiction book: Hey Daddy! Animal Fathers and
Their Babies by Marry Batten. There is a section on giant water bugs in this book. Your students also will want to read
about all the other animal fathers that help with child rearing. (Citation: Batten, Mary. Hey
Daddy! Animal Fathers and Their Babies. Illustrated by Higgins Bond. Atlanta:
Peachtree Publishers, 2002. ISBN: 1561452726.) b) If students show interest, divide them into groups and have each group gather
additional information about a different animal father.