Suitable for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2

Explore the different habitats where invertebrates might live and catch one in a bug pot to get a closer look.

Which season is best for this activity?

This activity is best done during the spring or summer terms, when there is a more plentiful supply of invertebrates for the children to find. The session is held outdoors; suitable clothing is required if rain is forecast. We only work indoors if the weather is exceptionally bad.

Learning objectives and links to the national curriculum of study.

The session links directly to these National Curriculum Science Programmes of Study for Key Stage 1 and 2:

  • Animals including humans;
  • Living Things and their Habitats.

The contents of this activity should involve pupils in using the following practical scientific methods, processes or skills.
1. Asking questions and using their observations and ideas to suggest answers to questions.
2. Identifying and classifying.
3. Gathering and recording data.

By the end of the session we want the pupils to

  • be fully engaged in hands-on tasks
  • know what an invertebrate is and find examples
  • understand the importance of camouflage to these tiny creatures
  • think about what type of environment suits them
  • see different invertebrate habitats
  • catch and examine an invertebrate

All our sessions are underpinned by detailed lesson plans. These plans are adjusted to take account of the variations in ability and skill level at Key Stage 2.

Outline of the Activity

1. We begin with an introductory discussion and game to illustrate what an invertebrate is, and what it isn’t.
2. We then have sessions out in the Park and on our own Nature Trail, to explore habitats and the importance of camouflage.
3. The children then catch an invertebrate in a bug pot. A tally sheet allows the children to keep a record of the invertebrates they find and where they find them. This task includes pond habitats and a game to experience the importance of camouflage.

In the event of extreme weather conditions, we have a variety of indoor activities, including the use of a digital microscope where invertebrates can be more closely examined.

Ideas for pre-visit learning

Before bringing a group to do this activity, here are some ideas to help to introduce the subject:

  • Talk about the tiny insects that children know about.
  • Can they name some?
  • Where do children find these insects?
  • Why are they so important? Basic introduction to the food chain.

Ideas for follow-up work back at school

  • Produce a final copy of the tally sheet completed during the session
  • Analyse the data to show
    • Which invertebrates were most commonly found on the day
    • Which habitats seemed most popular.