Backyard Bugs

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What You Need:

  • A patch of bug-filled open space such as a yard, park, or neighborhood garden
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Clipboard

What You Do:

  1. Discuss with your child the type of insects he'd expect to find when you take your walk. He may suggest ants, bees, pillbugs, and butterflies. Make a chart showing these insects, but also leave some blank spaces for any other bugs you find along the way. Place the chart on a clipboard so you can walk around and take notes.
  2. Get outdoors, whether it's your yard, a park, or a neighborhood garden. Have your child make a tally mark in the appropriate column each time he spies an insect. You may want to add an “unknown insect” category to your chart, just in case you come across anything that's not easily identifiable. While you're walking, take time to observe the insects, noting their size and pattern of movement (flying, crawling, or both).
  3. Make a bar graph to show the insects you found. List the types of bugs on the left, and then on the horizontal line, the y-axis, write numbers 0 to the greatest amount you tallied. Using your tally chart, help your child make bars to show the data. For example, if your data shows 4 bees, have your child draw a bar to number 4 on the graph. Continue until you and your child have represented all of the tally marks on the graph.
  4. Discuss the data shown on the graph. Have your child tell you what each bar shows. Ask him which insects he saw most or least often. Explain to him that bar graphs make your comparison of insects easy and fun--and they're also a skill that will show up again and again in Big Kid Math!

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