Question Sheet: A Spider’s Silky Strength


Before reading:

  1. How would you describe what it means when something is sticky? 
  2. Name two uses for a really strong fabric.

During reading:

  1. What is the toughest form of spider silk? 
  2. How do scientists know that spider silk is really tough? 
  3. Why are human-made threads from spider silk not as strong as natural ones? 
  4. What are the disadvantages of using spiders to make fabric? 
  5. Why did scientists x-ray the spiders?

After reading:

  1. Why would they call the material spiders produce “milk”? 
  2. Name two specific uses for the actual creation of spider strength clothing. 
  3. When would silk shrinking in water and stretching a lot be a disadvantage?

    Come up with two specific examples. 

  4. Compare silkworm silk to spider silk, what are the advantages and

    disadvantages of each material and process? 

  5. At the end of this article, Terry says, “Nature still beats us…we have a lot

    to learn from nature.” Do you agree with this idea? Think of three other things

    that nature does better than science or that science does better than nature. 

  6. Why does the silkworm’s figure-eight pattern change the consistency of its



From which regions of the world do silkworms come?


  1. Design your own line of spider silk clothing. Come up with an advertisement

    for the clothing and draw three different outfits. 

  2. Some people think it is cruel to use animals to make clothing like silk.

    Write down your opinion on whether the uses of silk outweigh the affect it has

    on the animal.