Learning Opportunities and The Magic of Minibeasts
Do you remember seeing a butterfly for the first time? Or a crab at the beach? Do you remember all the questions that popped into your head?…
What is it? Where did it come from? How does it move? What does it eat?
Children find minibeasts fascinating. They are inertly curious about them and there are so many different learning opportunities that can stem from the creepy crawlies. So, learn to control your own personal fears and embrace all marvellous minibeasts!
Start by considering what you want the children to learn and experience from a minibeast topic. What key knowledge and skills do you want them to gain? And how will you pass this on in an engaging and purposeful way? The new curriculum in Early Years is centred on introducing new vocabulary to children, so plan which words you want the children to understand, learn and use independently. Choose which key texts you are going to focus on and think carefully about how they will support the intended learning. Remember to choose fiction and non-fiction texts to get the desired breadth.
Our minibeast topic plan is a great place to start to give you some ideas across the 7 areas of learning. Tailor your planning to the needs of your class, thinking about what specific next steps are needed for groups of and individual children. Consider when to teach a minibeast topic. They typically start to appear more in the first half of the summer term, when the weather warms up. Avoid winter as they are all hiding from the cold. Collect resources to use as minibeast kits like magnifying glasses and observation pots.
Think of what experiences are going to excite and motivate your children – a minibeast hunt is a must! Why not do one inside as well as outside and compare which minibeasts you find and the number of minibeasts as well?
When teaching minibeasts I use a company called Insect Lore who provide minibeasts that you look after and help to grow. Caterpillars were a firm favourite, but they do have other ones to choose from such as stick insects or ants. Plan when to order your minibeasts so that they arrive just in time for your topic. If you don’t want to raise your own minibeasts, organise a minibeast workshop from a specialised provider or find a local nature reserve that you can visit. It is very important to teach children to not harm or kill minibeasts as they are very useful to us and using more hands-on activities will help them to see them as beautiful creatures.
Set a learning challenge for your children to continue this learning at home – What kind of minibeasts can they find at home? Can they take photographs of them? Encourage children to draw and write about the minibeast they find, bringing their work into school to share.
Here at Teacher’s Pet, we have many useful resources linked to a minibeast topic, from a rhyme pack to decodable fact cards. I have created resources which support teaching and learning in early years, including a brilliant PowerPoint which is all about minibeasts.
A minibeast topic links to the natural world and will support your judgements specifically around early learning goal 15, as well as many other areas of learning.
Set up your provision so that your topic stands out to anyone who walks into your classroom. Inspire and excite children (and adults) and teach them all about the magic of minibeasts. You never know, you might actually start to love the creepy crawlies!