University of Georgia Extension

Fireflies for Educators

Do you call them “fireflies” or “lightning bugs?”

Whether you call the glowing beetles with flashes “fireflies” or “lightning bugs” can depend on where you grew up. Southerners tend to use the term “lightning bugs” while those growing up in the north use “fireflies.”  Use this poll to ask your class their preferred terminology and graph the results!

Incorporate Fireflies into your Language Arts Curriculum

Books Used by Educators

  • The Very Lonely Firefly by Eric Carle (preschool through early elementary)
  • Glow: Animals with Their Own Night Lights by W.H. Beck (early elementary)
  • Light the Sky, Firefly by Sheri Mabry Bestor (6-9 years)
  • Fireflies in the Night by Judy Hawks and Ellen Alexander (4-8 years)
  • Fireflies by Julie Brinklove (6-7 years)
  • Fireflies Book: Fun Facts about the Fireflies You Loved as a Kid by Brett Ortler (upper elementary – middle school)

Writing About Fireflies

Use this firefly prompt for writing assignments:

Cultures all over the world and throughout time have recognized the uniqueness of fireflies. Two thousand year old Chinese writings describe the insects as “night travelers with bellies of fire.” Navaho tradition relates fireflies to First Women’s desire to bring fire and light to her people. In Japan, they were thought of as the departed souls of warriors.

Imagine that you had never seen a firefly. You are hiking at dusk on a trail in the North Georgia Mountains. You round a corner in the trail and suddenly there are hundreds of lights flashing – your first encounter with fireflies. What would you think? How would you feel? Write a short story or poem about the experience.

Glowing firefly

Designing a Firefly Habitat

Prairie Meadow

Download information on adding firefly habitat to your school garden.

Your school garden could become a certified habitat for fireflies.

To become a certified firefly habitat you will be asked if you are:

  • Providing undisturbed cover for adults and glowing larvae
  • Encouraging plant diversity to preserve soil moisture
  • Reducing Light Pollution
  • Restricting Pesticide Usage

Resources on creating firefly habitat are located at

Certified Firefly Habitat

Links, Interviews and Podcasts:

Feel free to download and use these firefly mascots:

Firefly with wings closed
Firefly with wings open
Glowing firefly
Fannin County
Fannin County Schools