Sunday, 1 June 2014

Insect Hotel - Invertebrate Science Project

As part of the Key Stage 2 curriculum Dorothy and friends were set a Half Term challenge for Science. Since they were learning about Invertebrates they were asked to make a model of an invertebrate, or an insect (bug) "hotel".



What is an invertebrate?

The official answer is ....
"Invertebrates are animal species that do not possess or develop a vertebral column, derived from the notochord. This in effect includes all animals apart from the subphylum Vertebrata" Wikipaedia
Which sounds rather complicated.  A "vertebral column" is a backbone! Put simply all creatures without a spine or backbone are invertebrates. There is an excellent resource for children explaining this (and much more!) here. Do have a look!

So an insect, or "bug" is an invertebrate?

Yes, although there are many different kinds. Invertebrates tend to be symmetrical, which means if you drew a line down their length each side is a mirror image of the other. This is also true for vertebrates (animals WITH a backbone) but some invertebrates are a little different, like sponges or coral.

Some invertebrates have segmented bodies, where their bodies are literally divided into clear segments, or parts in which the insides are duplicated (copied) inside. Some worms - the "annelids" can therefore go on living when one body segmented is damaged!

In the "bug" world that includes ants, wasps, spiders and worms - the "annelids" and many more all have clearly defined body sections.

What makes an insect and insect?

  • Insects or bugs all have six legs, in three pairs. (Always, or they wouldn't be "insects". Spiders are NOT insects)
  • Adult insects have a body divided into three clear areas
  • Insects have antennae
  • Insects have external (outside) mouth parts

"What is a Bug Hotel"?

A "hotel" for an insect/bug is exactly how it sounds, somewhere for them to stay! It is usually a good place for them to hide and hibernate over winter, but be careful if you are checking them in the Spring as sometimes a solitary (just one) wasp spends the winter snug in your hotel too!

How do I make one?

There are no hard and fast rules, the Royal Horticultural Society has some suggestions here.
The best things to use are tubes, pipes, pin cones, anything that insects can crawl into. There is a very impressive one here on Wikipaedia showing a large one enclosed in wire. But it really doesn't need to be too complicated, unlike this amazing one a friend in South Africa found!



Here's How Dorothy made a simple Bug Hotel
  • Dorothy found a lump of wood, and sanded down the outside. 
  • Then her Dad drilled large bore holes (that means BIG holes!) 
  • They found a piece of bark to fix to the top. This can be glued with wood glue and Dorothy's Dad used a large nail to hammer the bark "roof" firmly on top.
  • Finally, Dorothy had great fun decorating the outside in the shape of an owl, as she hears one every night in her garden!
Dorothy hopes the insects will love staying in her hotel when the cold weather comes at the end of the year!

Alternative Project

One of Dorothy's friends decided to make a model instead with his friend. He made a Stag Beetle out of FIMO modelling clay, which you bake in the oven.


The wings were made from paper, glued on after baking and supported by wire which was inserted BEFORE baking. 

Linking up with "Country Kids" at Coombe Mill 

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


32 comments:

  1. Oh we have done this twice now. I refuse to do the craft projects at home. The boys do enough and the competition is ALWAYS between the parents rather than the kids! However, your bug looks amazing

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  2. Great ideas. Baby is a little young at the moment, but it won't be long x

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  3. looks great and almost real! well done! I just hate insects, bbrrr

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  4. What a clever idea to put the wire for the wings of the Stag Beetle in before baking. I would have thought that the metal would melt - will have to get experimenting! We have been making ladybirds here, it is the perfect time of year to explore invertebrates.

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    1. You don't bake FIMO very hot so it's fine :)

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  5. Great idea! I love the thought of having a bug hotel, the kids will love it too :)

    Thanks for linking up to the #blogsRus linky!

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  6. I love the owl-esque bug hotel! I'm here from #blogsRus x

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  7. This is fab- my boys love bugs at the moment so be nice to make one of these for them to see the bugs in

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  8. this is great, my little ones have also made a bug hotel as they call it , filled with tubes and such for the natural surroundings and insects to live and breed in x

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  9. I love bugs and often show the boys inside the compost bin! This sounds a great idea and may go on my summer bucket list - thank youfor sharing.

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  10. My children love bugs but I'm not so sure I would like them. Both projects are great. We love using Fimo in our crafts, it's very versatile.

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  11. Some great creative learning ideas and a way to help children connect with nature. Thanks for linking up and sharing your ideas with Country Kids.

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  12. What a great idea for a project. Hope you get lots of visitors checking into your 'hotel'!

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  13. What a brilliant project - we have bought an insect hotel but not made one - I'd love to give that a try though, great to watch to see if anyone makes it their home! :)

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  14. I love this idea - I may just get my two to have a little go. They think they're too grown up for most crafts now at the grand old ages of 9 and 11 ;-)

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  15. What a great looking bug, it sounds like a fun way to learn a little more about them as well. x

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  16. These look and sound great! My little boy is 5 and has recently started becoming fascinated with bugs and insects and all things creepy crawly (including picking up every woodlouse he can find lol!) I think this would make a great activity for my son and his daddy to do one weekend!!

    Jess
    http://owlcrazymummy.blogspot.co.uk

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  17. Bookmarking for my daughter to read! She'll love this post. She's seven and into all things science/animal related!

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  18. That looks like such fun, and having just had a big garden clear out we have loads of stuff to make one with! Perfect project for a sunny day :)

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  19. This looks awesome! I so wish I could get my son interested in homework :(

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    1. My son with Autism wouldn't do this Lucie, he won't do homework at ALL, now he's in High School it's a nightmare!

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  20. We have bug hotel in apark near here and its always nice to visit. Twas empty beforebut now there are few bees hovering around it #LetKidsBeKids

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  21. This is a great idea. I'll have to get the husband to help the girls make a bug hotel :)

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  22. That bug hotel looks great. I've been meaning to make one with my kids.
    Thanks for linking #LetKidsBeKids

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  23. Love this idea, would love one in our garden! #letkidsbekids

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  24. This is a fantastic idea. I think it would teach Max a lot when he is a little older. Thanks for sharing.

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  25. So important to encourage all the insects in the garden and I'm glad Dorothy shared how she made hers!

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  26. I love all these kinds of science bits and cannot wait for the girls to learn about this kind of stuff so i can help and get involved too! x

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  27. Lucas loves insects and bugs and that is a very handsome bug - great post #letkidsbekids

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  28. Lovely ideas. That stag beetle is just brilliant!
    '#letkidsbekids

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  29. my girls made a bug hotel last summer, it's so much fun!

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Thank you for commenting!
Dorothy xx