Our Mini Beasts box has lots of mini beasts in resin for you to examine and sort as well as all of the equipment you will need to go outside and find your own mini beasts!
Who could use this?
This box could be used by EYFS settings to develop understanding of the natural world or for a mini beast topic. Year 1 and 2 could use this during their animals or living things and habitats topics in Science.
ELG: The Natural World – Explore the natural world around them, making observations and drawing pictures of animals and plants
Year 1 Science: Animals Including Humans
- identify and name a variety of common animals
- identify and name a variety of common animals that are carnivores, herbivores and omnivores
- describe and compare the structure of a variety of common animals
Year 2 Science: Living Things and their Habitats
- explore and compare the differences between things that are living, dead, and things that have never been alive
- identify that most living things live in habitats to which they are suited and describe how different habitats provide for the basic needs of different kinds of animals and plants, and how they depend on each other
- identify and name a variety of plants and animals in their habitats, including microhabitats
- describe how animals obtain their food from plants and other animals, using the idea of a simple food chain, and identify and name different sources of food.
What’s in the box?
Our Mini Beast box contains:
- Mini beasts in resin
- Magnifying bug pots
- Magnifying glasses
- 3D posters of mini beasts
- 3D glasses
Download the complete contents list here.
The Primary Science Teaching Trust has some additional careers links you may like to look at. These are called “A scientist just like me” and introduce children to a diverse range of scientists.
The downloadable power point relevant to this box is ecological entomologist Dr Ben Woodcock.
Hunting for Minibeasts
Science for Families: Activities supporting the ‘Pooter’ session
This resource is designed to accompany the Science for Families course delivered by NUSTEM or one of our partners. It’s a six-week parent and child course delivered in primary schools.
You’re welcome to use the resources for other purposes, but they might not make quite as much sense!
It may look a little home-made, but your pooter is the first step on your journey to becoming an entomologist – that’s the type of scientist who investigates the world of insects! You’ll have used your pooter already to collect minibeasts in habitats near your Science for Families session, so now it’s time to explore your own backyard, garden, or a park close to home!
Remember to take care when using your pooter. Follow these rules:
- Only capture one insect at a time. Empty your pooter between goes.
- Make sure you return insects back where you found them.
- Handle insects gently – remember you are a lot bigger than they are!
If you’d like to learn a bit more about the fascinating world of entomology – that’s the study of insects – scroll down for more experiments to try.
Becoming an entomologist
Here’s an excellent video from the BBC, which includes information about loads of different insects and minibeasts you might find in the UK and further abroad. We think it’s well worth exploring.
Whilst out bug hunting, NUSTEM recorded this video of an ants nest in Exhibition Park, Newcastle:
Entomologists aren’t just interested in where mini beasts live – they also want to know how they behave.
To experiment with animal behaviour, try making a simple choice chamber to see which kind of environment woodlice prefer. The folks over at Science Sparks have put together a tutorial for making one, which you can find here.
Ask your child: what is a botanist?
Today NUSTEM have been into school to do the botanist workshop with your child. During the workshop, we supported the children to feel more confident that a career in STEM is for ‘people like them’ by trying some of the activities a botanist would do in their job.
We introduced three attributes that the children may already have or can develop. By discussing STEM careers in terms of these attributes, we are encouraging children and young people to see themselves as having the skills to work in STEM.
Botanists are: curious, patient and observant.
What do Botanists do?
Botanists study plants including algae, fungi, lichens, mosses, ferns, conifers and flowering plants. They study how plants live and grow, the evolution of plants and the relationship plants have with their environments. Their research is involves improving crops, developing medicines, cleaning up contaminated sites, and even powering our cars.
Do try this at home: make a plant pop up
Today we made these plant pop ups to record what we had observed about the Venus Fly Traps that we observed during our botanist session in a creative and imaginative way.
You may have a favourite flower in your house, garden or yard that you would like to observe and record using a pop up or you may want to use one of our flower photographs as inspiration.
You will need:
- Card or paper (A4 is easiest but any size will do)
- A pencil
- Felt tips, crayons or colouring pencils
- Photographs of plants (see below) or the ability to search the internet for these
Fold the card or paper in half, and then in half again so it is in quarters. Open up the card so that it is folded in half, with the quarter fold running across the middle and the half fold along the left hand side.
Fold the top left hand corner and bottom left hand corner into the centre fold. Open out these folds. Turn over the card and fold the corners into the centre fold again, so they have been folded both ways.
Inside the triangle created, draw a curved line from the left hand folded edge to the diagonal fold. This will make the shape of your petals. Cut along the curved line with your scissors.
Fully open up the card. Put your finger on the centre of your petal, at the top of the vertical fold line. Pull your petal towards you and fold it along the vertical line. Do the same with the lower petal. Fold the card in half again. Your top and bottom petals should be folded to form a flower inside your card.
Draw your flower by adding extra petals and then colour these in. You can add the stem and leaves if you want to.
Now try experimenting with different shaped petals. You could make the petals more narrower or wider by folding in the corners more or less (step 2). You can also change the shape of your curve (step 3).
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