Walking with Minibeasts

KS1 & Lower KS2
Duration 1h    

Real specimens of amazing arthropods  - from butterflies and beetles to prawns and scorpions – are sorted into groups on our floor-sized family tree. Students develop their close observation skills as well as an awareness of the incredible variety of insect life, before creating their own crazy creature.





Key Words

Identification. Classification. Keys. Environment. Biodiversity. Arthropods. Insects. Adaptation. Habitats.

Learning objectives

  • Use a dichotomous key to identify insects and other arthropods.
  • Appreciate the diversity of nature, in the context of the world of arthropods (insects and their relatives).
  • Have a greater understanding of the natural world and be inspired to find out more.
  • Examine real specimens and gain an understanding of their body forms and the characteristics of different groups (butterflies, beetles, dragonflies etc).
  • Understand why sorting and grouping (classification) based on similar characteristics is useful for scientists.
  • Recognise that insects and other arthropods have features that adapt them to a particular habitat or mode of life.


Students will:

  • Sort a collection of buttons into sub-groups and discuss the resaons for their decision making process.
  • Learn about the key features of insects and their close arthropods relatives (spiders, crabs, woodlice& centipedes).
  • In pairs, closely examine an intriguing real ‘minibeast’ specimen – set in resin and easy and safe to handle - using a magnifying glass
  • Identify their specimen by following a path on our room-sized, specially designed dichotomous key – answering questions at various points to guide them to a correct identification (repeating  the task with a new specimen until time runs out).
  • Find out more information about their own ‘minibeast’ and get a chance to tell the class what they have learned.
  • Design their own imaginary ‘minibeast’, using features they have observed, and suggest a suitable name and habitat for it.

Curriculum Links

Working scientifically

  • Observing closely, using simple equipment.
  • Identifying and classifying.

Animals, including humans (Year 1)

  • Identify and name a variety of common animals.
  • Describe and compare the structure of a variety of common animals.

Living things and their habitats (Year 2)

  • Recognise 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 the name of a variety of plants and animals in their habitat, including microhabitats.

Working scientifically (Year 3 and 4)

  • Making systematic and careful observations

Animals, including humans (Year 3)

  • Identify that humans and some other animals have skeletons and muscles for support, protection and movement.

Living things and their habitats (Year 4)

  • Recognise that living things can be grouped in a variety of ways.
  • Explore and use classification keys to help group, identify and name a variety of living things in their local and wider environment.

Potential Hazards

There are no specific hazards associated with this workshop

Planning your visit

Click here for full details of how to plan your visit to We The Curious.


Booking and info