During BUGS! Our Backyard Heroes, the Learning team built a bug magnet: in the Te Manawa courtyard we grew – and overgrew – a garden. This let visiting learners to take part in an ecological field study as citizen scientists. We had 19 groups take part in the study, examining the diversity of insect life in our small corner of nature and recording data.
We talked about biodiversity, ecological niches, the food chain, the complexity of the ecosystem, field study science and how and why we would like to attract bugs into our lives (I also told a bunch of kids to go home and tell their caregivers to stop mowing a section of the lawn! Ha!).
The short time that our learners are with us makes it hard for us to do anything that is not instant. This programme was presented as being part of a bigger study, or a citizen science approach to data collection. We will be providing the data from our findings to the teachers to use in a number of different ways.
Data is an interesting thing, and when you give children permission to identify and record information the results are just as interesting!
As this was more a lesson in ecological field work rather than a genuine study of the insect garden I allowed the kids to record the data as they wanted.