Teaching Resources

This page contains teaching modules for classroom and field activities related to the BioB project.

BioB Field Surveys

The field survey modules includes suggestions for exploring your local insect diversity, and detailed instructions on collecting data on true bugs and their host plants, and contributing to the collaborative research project. This module is compatible with a wide range of grade levels (grades 4-12 are suggested). Collecting field data is central to Bugs in our Backyard — this is the backyard! The shared data generated by participants is made publicly available for analysis and as an additional teaching tool.

There are five surveys, and you can select one that best fits the plants and insects in your area.

  • A BioB Field Guide provides keys and visual guides to the plants and insects targeted by each survey, as well as an introduction to insects in general. The Guide is meant to be a stand-alone document that will allow citizen scientists to contribute to the BioB surveys. (We’re still updating about 4 pages of the 32-page guide. Check back periodically for content updates.)

More information and suggestions on logistic planning for student groups are provided in the teaching modules below, which are customized for each survey.

Additional resources

  • Field Data Sheet is a place to record observations about the field site, plants and insects. The same sheet can be used for all BioB surveys, and it is included in the Field Guide.
  • Metric graph paper may be useful as a background for photographs of the insects you find.

Oncopeltus fasciatus key imageKeeping milkweed bugs

Large milkweed bugs, Oncopeltus fasciatus, are colorful, fast-growing insects. They are native to the temperate US, where they feed and breed on milkweed. However, they can be purchased cheaply online, and kept easily the classroom. This document will tell you how to keep these insects and provide some ideas for classroom activities.

choice_chamberBehavioral choice experiments 

A simple behavioral test you can do in the lab or classroom is a choice test. In this type of experiment an animal, such as a milkweed bug, is placed in the middle of a “choice chamber” with two alternatives to either side. Students can test a limitless range of questions about bug behavior by filling the sides of the chamber with different foods, different colors or intensities of light, or the smells of different attractant or repellant chemicals. This activity is great when it’s cold outside! Instructions are included for working the chi-square test to help interpret results.

scavenger hunt thumbnailScavenger Hunt!

Explore your backyard with younger students in this fun scavenger hunt. Three scrambled worksheets are provided, and some suggestions to use the experience as an opportunity to teach about food webs, seed dispersal, metamorphosis, pollination and other ecological concepts.

Coming Soon…

We soon hope to up-load modules on keeping soapberry bugs in the classroom, and how to perform a simple statistical test (Fisher’s exact test) to determine whether morph or sex ratios are significantly different in two populations. Check back soon!