Big Backyard Bugs (Interactive poster)

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A colourful A3 interactive poster featuring typical big bugs (insects) found in New Zealand backyards, including: monarch butterfly, cicada, katydid, praying mantis, german wasp, bumble bee, drone fly, American cockroach, black field cricket, huhu beetle, red admiral and tree weta. Cut out the pictures of the bugs and place in the correct locations on the poster. Great for recognition of the different insects, their special features and typical locations where they are found. This activity is a good for close observations and as a precurser to understanding more advanced concepts such as habitats, ecosystems, ecological niche and animal diversity.

The poster is laminated light card.


New Zealand customers: Cheque, Direct Credit, Credit Card, PayPal.
Overseas customers: Not delivered overseas.

Ideas and approaches

Primary Years 2–3

  • Photocopy the master poster in black and white and give to students.
  • Depending on the manual dexterity of the children, have them (or an adult) cut out the puzzle pieces. Having the children perform this task is preferable, since they are forced to look carefully  (= observations) at the animals. Store them in a zip-top bag or similar. Place on the puzzle in a loose fashion, or use Blu Tack or velcro for short term mounting or glue in place permanently.
  • Simple shape recognition — 'Which one will fit in which space?' Place correctly.
  • Children realistically colour in their black and white pictures using the coloured poster as a guide.
  • Questions based on observations: 1) Have you seen this before? Where? 2) Do you think it can fly? 3) How many legs can you count? 4) Does it have long or short feelers? 5) What colour is it? 6) Where would you find this in the garden, e.g. under a rock, on the ground, on a plant, or flying? 6) Does it make sounds, e.g. crickets, cicadas, bumble bees (in flight), wasps (in flight), drone flies (in flight), weta and katydids all do.
  • Naming games. Which insect is which? Use Māori and English terms.
  • Visit a garden to find bugs. The best time for this is in summer and early autumn when insects are most abundant.
  • Bring insects along to your school and keep in captivity (for short durations unless you know how to care for them). Butterflies should not be kept as they are easily damaged. Close observations of behaviour (e.g. walking, feeding, flying, preference for light or dark spaces, etc), special body features (e.g. long antennae, biting jaws, colouration for camouflage, bright colours for warning, grabbing legs for catching prey), sounds they make. Celebrate their release!

Primary Years 3–6

  • All the above ideas, but pitched at a higher level.
  • Use the interactive poster as an ignition activity for a unit on insects or animals or living communities.
  • Scientific naming. Research their scientific names.
  • Pick your favourite insect and study it in depth. Study in the field. Drawings, observations, magnify with magnifying lenses or microscopes. Photograph, video.
  • Research into care in captivity. For example weta, crickets and praying mantids are easily cared for, so longer term observations can be made. Always release afterwards!
  • Behaviour investigations: feeding preferences, light and dark preferences, defence behaviour.