Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

Teachers' Notes

Resource created by Leeds Discovery Centre.

This resource is suitable for Key Stages 2 to 3, aims to introduce knowledge and understanding of basic insect anatomy and how this relates to an animal’s ecological role in its habitat. It explains what sets insects and invertebrates apart from other animals, and then details the main anatomy of a ‘typical’ insect. Finally, it showcases some of the weird and wonderful adaptations that exist in nature and why they might exist.


Curriculum Links

The resource covers the following areas of the Science curriculum:

  • KS2 Science – Living things and their habitats; Life cycles; Evolution and adaptation; how we classify animals
  • KS3 Science – Relationships in an ecosystem; Variations between species; Genetics and Inheritance


Aims of Resource

To give a simple introduction to insect anatomy, and show how adaptations are linked to the habitat and ecological role of an animal.


Learning Objectives

  • Knowledge of the fundamental anatomy of a typical insect and how anatomy is linked to the ecological role of a species
  • Understanding that while species may appear different and adapt to different niches, their underlying form and function can remain common
  • Skills to critically evaluate adaptations in relation to habitats.


Discussion Ideas

  • Can you think of any animals with more than 5 pairs of legs?
  • What kinds of animals have less than 3 pairs of legs?
  • Which animal has more legs than any other?
  • What kind of adaptations might you find in insects of different ecological niches such as primary consumer, or predator?
  • Can you think of an adaptation that helps an insect be a more effective predator, and how its prey might have adapted to defend itself or avoid this?


Activity Ideas

  • Design your own insect
    - Think about the habitat (rainforests/grasslands/deserts) and lifestyle (predator/herbivore/flying/burrowing etc.) of your imaginary insect and then work out which body parts could be adapted to suit these conditions the best.

  • Map a food-chain or food-web, and then see if there is a pattern in where you find different types of adaptations. Perhaps consumers are more camouflaged, whereas predators might be adapted for speed or catching prey.