Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Teachers' Notes

Resource created by Leeds Museums and Galleries | The Discovery Centre

This resource is suitable for Key Stages 1, 2 and 3 and aims to introduce the very basics of entomology and show how easy it is for anyone to get involved. It explains how simple identification keys work, why insects are collected and studied and how to get started yourself. An interactive PowerPoint identification key is provided as well as a printable ‘field key’ for use in the field, with additional information on the back to help navigate the wonderful world of insect identification. 

Curriculum Links:

KS1 Science:  Identifying Plants and animals in their habitats
KS2 Science: Living things and their habitats; Evolution and adaptation; how we classify animals
KS3 Science:  Relationships in an ecosystem; Variations between species

Aims of Resource:

To introduce the field of entomology, explain how identification keys are used and to encourage students to engage with the natural world, even the very small.

Learning objectives:

  • Knowledge of different types of insects and how we tell them apart
  • Understanding how identification keys work and the value in knowing more about the ecology of the world around us
  • Skills to identify different types of insect and record simple findings and data.

Discussion Ideas:

  • Do we still need to be collecting insects if we already have large collections available to us?
  • In what situations might it be useful to collect an insect and preserve it?
  • How do you think insect activity might change throughout the year?
  • Are there times when insects are more or less active?
    • Why do you think this is?

Activity Ideas:

  • Organise a ‘garden safari’ at home, in the park or at school, using either the interactive powerpoint insect key or the printable insect key to identify any insects you find.
  • Record your findings in a ‘field journal’ to see what types of insects you find in different places and at different times of the year, and how this changes with the seasons.
  • Have a go at bug bingo! Make a list of different insects before setting off on an ‘expedition’ and then see how many you manage to find.
  • Take a trip to the nearest museum or university to look at their insect collections and learn more about the wonderful world of bugs!
  • Use the Supporting Links  to find out how to get involved with local biodiversity surveys and use your new skills to help actual research!
  • Use the insect key to design your own insect. Swap with your friend and see if you can identify each other's insect using the key.
  • Create a bug themed shadow puppet theatre and create your own insect stories to perform. See the downloadable powerpoint for simple instructions.
  • Create a minibeast musical instrument (guiro stick strummer) with step by step instructions and information on why flying minibeasts buzz.