National Insect Week : Teaching about mini-beasts


National Insect Week (25 June – 1 July) is a great opportunity to explore the wonderful world of mini-beasts – as relevant and fascinating to explore in gardens, local parks or countryside as they are in more exotic environments.

Cover of "Minibeasts (Fun with Science)"
Cover of Minibeasts (Fun with Science)

More than 100 events have been organised for schools and families by the Royal Entomological Society, from moth walks to bioblitzes. To find one near you, see

The Guardian Teacher Network has pulled together a set of resources that should help your insect week go with a buzz. The wood ant activity pack is a series of well-thought-out, fun games and activities revolving around Wendy the wood ant. Access to a wood ants‘ nest is preferable, but not at all necessary.

Twelve insects have been singled out from the several thousand species in Britain as representatives of the main insect orders for Insect Week. You can find spotter’s guides and print information on the special 12, including the banded demoisellegreen shieldbug and the interestingly named cockchafer. Find the full list here.

National Insect Week has also organised an Olympics-themed drawing competition where children are asked to design an imaginary super insect.

Woodland Trust
Woodland Trust (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Woodland Trust has produced a set of engaging and useful resources for primary school-aged children. From a spotter sheet tick list of all the common creepy-crawlies to a printable set of ladybird dominoes to a mini-beast crossword. Find out how to tell a dragonfly from a damsel fly and unearth fascinating ladybird facts. Children can learn how to build their own butterfly feeders. Families, schools and groups can also enter The Woodland Trust’s mini-beast art competition – for more information, see

Twinkl’s Minibeasts collection provides a super-speedy route to creating a gorgeously creepy summer-term classroom display. There are mini-beast display borders to print, cut and go, ready-made display posters and insect-themed banners for displays or role-play areas. Find combined mini-beast number and alphabet strips and page borders – perfect for children’s independent work. There are also creepy-crawly editable class table signs and editable drawer or peg labels.

The Wildlife Trusts have created a colourful set of spotting sheets to help you identify a wide variety of mini-beasts, from beetles to snails tocaterpillars. Learn how to catch the critters to get a closer look and how to make an express or deluxe insect hotel.

Marvellous mini-beasts by ARKive invites seven- to 11-year-old students to create and design a new species of mini-beast, and in doing so learn how different species are adapted to survive particular habitats. There are also teachers’ notes.

Guess Zoo is ARKive’s module for 11- to 14-year-olds researching the defining characteristics of insect orders.

Finally, see this resource from Access Art on making insects with wire.

The Guardian Teacher Network has more than 100,000 pages of lesson plans and interactive materials. To see and share for yourself, go to

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