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Topic: 2B Plants and animals in the local environment
This is a FREE activity. In recent decades many species of insects, including ladybirds, have been shown to be in decline. There is considerable concern because many insects play extremely important roles in the functioning of ecosystems. Many ladybirds are predators and as such can control pest insects. Therefore, understanding the ecology and distribution of ladybirds is extremely important - submitting records of observations of ladybirds contributes to our understanding.
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• To develop observation skills and describe the features of a ladybird
• To extend children's knowledge of ladybirds and their habitats
• To observe similarities and differences between ladybirds
• To observe similarities and differences between ladybirds and butterflies
Make careful observations of ladybirds
Collect and record information about the ladybirds in the local environment
Variation and Classification
Group ladybirds according to observable similarities and differences
Living things in their environment
Find out abut different kinds of ladybirds in the local environment
Introducing the Activity
Ask children to describe the features of the ladybird on Page 1
• Discuss the colour and markings on the ladybird
• Can they see any clues that might tell them if ladybird can fly
• Draw children's attention to the wings when describing the features of the ladybird
Read the ladybird, ladybird nursery rhyme with your class
• Ask the children to think about where the ladybird might have flown home to.
• Ask the children if they have ever seen ladybirds. Where did they see them? Ask if they can remember when they saw it (which season).
Tell the children they will be going on a ladybird hunt. They will be finding out where ladybirds live, their habitats.
Spot the Difference:
Make children aware of the different species of ladybirds in the UK by playing "Spot the Difference". Give children copies of the Ladybird spotter sheets available from http://downloads.bbc.co.uk/breathingplaces/images/activity-ladybird-idrecord.pdf. Ask children to choose 2 ladybirds and spot the differences between them.
Repeat the activity choosing a different pair of ladybirds.
Ladybird Life Cycle
Discuss the life cycle of the ladybird on page 4.(see Science at your Fingertips below for information on when - and where - it is best to look for different stages of the ladybird life cycle)
The Ladybird Hunt
Ask the children to think about how they should behave when they go on the ladybird hunt. Talk about respecting the ladybirds and keeping any ladybirds they find safe. Remind children that the ladybirds have to be returned to their habitats at the end of the hunt.
Talk to the children about being good ladybird hunters. The clues they need to look out for are:
• What is the place like - Bright? Sunny? Dry? Damp? Shady?
• Where is the ladybird located? On a tree? On nettle plants? On vegetable plants?
• What does the ladybird look like? How many spots? What colour is it? Can they match it with one of the pictures on their worksheet?
During the ladybird hunt encourage the children to work in groups to explore different areas.
Submitting the record
Back in the classroom log onto the UK Ladybird Survey http://www.brc.ac.uk/iRecord/index.php?q=enter-ladybird-records and submit your record.