Resource round-up: Science KS1 minibeasts

By Rachel Hayward and Elizabeth White | 20 August 2009
A photo of a stick insect next to a ruler

(Above) "Hey, don't leave me out of this round-up..." a stick insect from the Natural History Museum collection. © Natural History Museum

National Insect Week takes place June 21-27 2010...we promise to bring you more as soon as we get an update

Resource round-up: We've collected some of the best online and real world minibeast activities to support your KS1 Science classroom topic and beyond.

Here's a list of the kind of online and real world offers from UK museums, science centres and other related organisations we like. Scroll down for more details and links:
1. Background info - including videos from the Natural History Museum
2. Real world school-based activities - e.g. make a minibeast home
3. Online games and interactives
4. Get involved - clubs and schemes for you and your pupils to join
5. Great places to take your pupils

1. Background info
National Museum Wales' website has a Minibeasts - teacher's classroom resource powerpoint slideshow which presents the basics really clearly. It could save you reinventing the wheel…

Try My Learning's Minibeasts learning journey. Its info on minibeasts is pupil friendly.

Feeling a bit nervous about letting your "wild things" loose on their minibeast hunt? How to catch minibeasts for a closer look from Wildlife Watch is our recommendation.

Naming and identifying
Identify your bug from the Natural History Museum will really help you to work out what it is you are looking at. It's a rich database of amazing images.

Do you know your mini beasts? is a pdf flow chart from recycle Hampshire that is also suitable for pupils. Answer simple questions to help you with categorisation. There are also helpful pictures of the little critters.

Try the Minibeast Quiz on the Horniman Museum's Nature Base. A lovely site designed with kids in mind, and the quiz is perfect interactive whiteboard material.

Minibeasts in your garden is Natural England's colourful pdf all about how to make outside a more minibeast friendly environment. Sit down with a cuppa and enjoy these lush, summer images.

Videos. The Natural History Museum has videos on minibeasts for your pupils to view, such as the world's longest insect from Borneo. No squirming allowed...

Honeybees, cockroaches and butterflies appear in the Natural History Museum's Life when you're small. It shows how the smallest creatures can often have the most important jobs. You can follow the life cycle of a butterfly or find out what really goes on in a beehive and the survival secrets of a cockroach…if you dare.

2. Practical school-based activities
Make a home for minibeasts Invertebrate Conservation Trust - Buglife hosts one of our favourite sites. Check out our article on their Snug as a Bug campaign and create a "bug hotel" for minibeasts to check into.

Know what a pooter is? Let our kids' site Show Me explain how to make one.

Here's another website we rate - The Woodland Trust. They've got minibeast make and do activities including bug bodies.

More print-out fun can be found on the Amateur Entomologists' website in their Bug Club.

Minibeast Mission from the National Trust is a pdf aimed at families going on a minibeast hunt, but it's adaptable for the classroom - we especially like the plasticine minibeast make and do idea.

A photo of a hibernating earthworm curled into a ball

Hibernating earthworm. © Roger Key / Buglife

3. Online games and interactives

Visit our Show Me website where you'll find insect fun and games, including Bug Blaster from the Met Office, in our Natural World Topic Page.

Day and Night Garden Explorer from Hantsweb enables you to explore a garden with your mouse and find out about the different beasts that live there.

Yorkshire Museum has Super Bugs, an interactive on the My Learning website. Pupils choose from different minibeast body parts and get to learn about them as they make their own super bug. This becomes a Top Trumps style statistics card that they can print off and share with their classmates. Click here for more teacher info.

The Amateur Entomologists' website Bugclub has its online insect games where you have to identify insect categories - potential for a short interactive whiteboard activity?

4. Get involved - clubs and schemes for you and your pupils to join
Amateur Entomologists' Society
Schools can join the Amateur Entomologists' Society and receive materials to assist teaching on minibeasts. You can also become an associate member of the AES Bug Club, giving you access to expert information on any bug-related queries. You'll also get The Bug Club Magazine, possible funding for conservation work in your school, plus big discounts on books.

Herefordshire Nature Trust
Herefordshire Nature Trust Wildlife WATCH groups meet once a month to explore nature and look at minibeasts, badgers, bats and trees. If you are an animal fan or keen environmentalist you can become a member and receive magazines, newsletters, posters and much more.

5. Great places to take your pupils
If you're lucky enough to live in the Birmingham area, Thinktank (Birmingham's Science Museum) offers fantastic face-to-face resources for schools. For KS2, you can investigate a range of unusual living creepy crawlies. Use computer microscopes to explore a variety of insects and discover how their anatomy can help them, and us, survive. This can link directly to specific schemes of work on Habitats and Independence and Adaptation.

The Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum's permanent minibeasts exhibition is the Creepy Crawly gallery in the Green Zone. Here you can find out about the lifestyles and movements of ants, moths, hawk moths and termite crabs to name but a few.

A screenshot of Horniman Museum's Nature Base website

Check out the Horniman's Nature Base website. Screenshot courtesy Horniman Museum

The Horniman Museum
The Horniman Museum in London has a fantastic Nature Base gallery for kids to feel like real explorers of the natural world. They have a wide range of interactive and live exhibits. At the centre of the exhibition you can look close up at a live beehive and see the queen bee, drones and workers in action.

A photo of two boys looking at bees

The Horniman Museum's Nature Base gallery is a fantastic opportunity for children to see wildlife up close. Picture © Rachel Hayward / Culture24

Portsmouth Natural History Museum
Portsmouth Natural History Museum has a butterfly house and aquarium, plus other live exhibits.

Hampshire County Council
Try out SEARCH - the hands-on centre for history and natural sciences in Gosport. SEARCH provides a range of exciting activity sessions for primary schools using real museum collections. There are also holiday workshops for families, all led by expert staff.

For schools, the sessions are closely linked to the national curriculum. The KS1 and 2 sessions on minibeasts investigate classification, life cycles and habitats using real specimens and high-tech equipment. The different minibeast groups are explored through games and observational drawing.

Haslemere Educational Museum
Haslemere Educational Museum offers a workshop on how to find and identify the differences between vertebrates and invertebrates. They use the museum's observation beehive, Minibeast Mountain, and the meadow for live specimens.

These are just a few suggestions but check out our Places to Go section for venues near you.

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