Insect Racing Tutorial

When students come to experience a week of awesome outdoor education at WOLF School, they learn about all different aspects of nature.

But most of our students, especially the younger students, find their favorite subject to be living creatures… especially insects.

Our insect studies are fun and educational. We combine reading and writing or insect descriptions with actual field exploration. Students get to use nets, sheets, bug boxes, and magnifying glasses to collect and examine various insects. However, as any naturalist who has organized and executed this study will tell you, the students are always bummed about releasing their little bug friends back into the wild.

But there is a way to make this fun and less-emotional for your students: INSECT RACES!

Insect Racing Diagram

Here’s how it works:

1. While your students are collecting and recording their insects, either use chalk (if on concrete) or a stick (if on dirt) to draw two circles. Once circle will be about 6 feet in diameter, and in the center of that circle will be another circle about 1-1 ½ feet in diameter.

2. Once your students/student groups have finished documenting their collected insects, gather them all in a circle, holding their bugs in their bug boxes.

3. Ask one representative from each student group to come stand in the larger circle with their (currently-inhabited) bug box.

4. Now explain the race: “All of the insects will be released into the center circle at the same time. Then all students will step back out of both circles. Feel free to cheer your team’s insect, but make sure everyone can see. The winning insect will be the first one to crawl, walk, or fly out of the larger circle.”

5. Have your students GENTLY tap their insects out of their bug boxes and step back with the rest of the students.

6. Encourage the students to cheer for 2nd and 3rd place after the first of the insects has escaped the larger circle.

Again, this is a great way to ease your students into releasing their insects. You can also use this as an exercise in discussing the various ways insects make their way around the planet.

 WOLF School naturalists hold an insect race during staff training. They were just as excited, passionate, and competitive as any students we have ever had!

WOLF School naturalists hold an insect race during staff training. They were just as excited, passionate, and competitive as any students we have ever had!