Tag Archives: identifying insects

Backyard Explorer North Queensland May 2012

Catching insects during the “hands-on” BE workshop

Queensland Museum scientists will conduct free workshops this week in Atherton, Innisfail, and Cairns dedicated to assessing local biodiversity and the effect of human impact using data from insect trapping. These workshops will be funded with assistance from Landcare through Fiona George (Regional Landcare Facilitator, Terrain Natural Resource Management, Innisfail).

The Queensland Museum Backyard Explorer North Queensland May 2012 workshops will include a free full day workshop held at the CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences, Atherton facilities on Thursday 17th. During this workshop we will be completing a study with Yungaburra Landcare and other interested community members at the Lower Peterson Creek re-vegetation site.

Participants from teachers to local naturalists, council representatives, Landcare members and staff, and interested community members will attend a program that encourages the region to become more involved in science. Backyard Explorer shows community groups how to complete a survey of their property, work site, even backyard, incorporating scientific examination of habitat, vegetation and wildlife using the techniques museum scientists use in research including identifying any insect finds and interpreting the bio-health of the area.

Landcare have also funded an after school session for teachers, Landcare members and staff, and other interested community at the training room at the Disaster Management Centre in Innisfail on Wednesday May 16th.

Additionally Landcare have organised for the Queensland Museum scientists to visit schools and provide students and teachers hands on experiences with collecting and identifying insects. The Juniors from St Rita’s school in South Johnstone doing Mini Beasts will be involved on Wednesday morning May 16th. All Year 3 classes at Bentley Park College south of Cairns will be working with the Queensland Museum  scientists on Friday 18th May.

Watch this space for reports on the Queensland Museum Backyard Explorer North Queensland May 2012 workshops.

Further reports, photographs, and resources from Backyard Explorer community sessions held in 2011 can also be accessed from this Queensland Museum Talks Science page.

Christine Lambkin is leading the BE workshops and will be joining the QMTS writers group as a guest author.  She is the curator of Entomology responsible for the Queensland Museum collections of Diptera (flies), Coleoptera (beetles), Orthoptera (grasshoppers), Hemiptera (bugs), Phasmatodea (stick insects), and a number of smaller insect orders. Her main research interest is the systematics, evolution, taxonomy, and biodiversity of Diptera, specialising in combined molecular and morphological phylogenetic analyses and monographic revisions of beeflies (Bombyliidae) and stiletto flies (Therevidae).

Chris Lambkin

Displaying Insects

Now that the weather is getting a bit warmer, some creepy crawlies will be emerging from their period of winter inactivity. Teachers and students may like to engage in a schoolyard safari to collect, identify, and display some of our amazing Australian insects.

Cicada, Birrima varians

On Queensland Museum’s Wild Backyards site you can find out how to trap insects using pitfall traps, malaise traps, and beating and netting. Instructional videos show you how to Plan a Study, Collect Insects, Identify Insects using a CSIRO Invertebrate Key, Display Insects, and Summarise Data using spreadsheets. The Backyard Explorer Leader’s Guide and User’s Guide that are on the Wild Backyards site are suitable to use with mid-primary to senior Biology groups. EEIs (Extended Experimental Investigations) and ERTs (Extended Response Tasks) can be designed around biodiversity assessments. A study of changes to flora and fauna over time and space is one way of exploring changes to biodiversity.

The Displaying Insects video has recently been added to QM’s suite of instructional videos. In this video Noel Starick, who was an entomologist at CSIRO for many years, shows some of the techniques and ‘tricks of the trade’ to help budding insect-lovers produce an eye-catching insect display.

Insect Collection

Insect trays can be kept from year to year and used to teach classification (Yr 7 of the Australian Science Curriculum) and adaptations (Yr 5), as well as classification at a senior Biology level.

An insect tray with specimens classified down to Order level, is included in the new QM Loans kit, Micro Marvels. This kit will be available for borrowing from 2012.

Micro Marvels kit

Booklets that assist with teaching these themes were uploaded on a previous blog; see the one on New Primary Science Loans kits trialled in the Classroom.