Minibeasts back with an ugly bug ball

21st April 2006 at 01:00

Spring. And the thoughts of reception teachers turn to slugs, snails and earthworms.

The minibeasts are back.and wriggling around in some muck near you.

Planet Earth, David Attenborough's latest BBC series, might be full of stunning shots of polar bears and wildebeest, but what is really causing a buzz among teachers is a Powerpoint presentation on earthworms. The chatter on the TES website ( is all about the presentation devised by Fiona Davis, a reception teacher at Cavalry primary, in March, Cambridgeshire.

Mrs Davis and Jane Hall, a fellow reception teacher at Cavalry, devote an entire term's work to minibeasts, culminating in an ugly bug ball.

Each week or fortnight is based on a book or piece of text about an insect such as the Bad-tempered Ladybird in ladybird week, the Hungry Caterpillar or Incy Wincy Spider. Maths is linked in so the children count the spots on ladybirds and look for symmetry in butterfly week. They sing minibeast songs in music and go on field trips.

But Mrs Davis was forced to come up with her own presentation about worms when she could not find any books about them. And her work is now setting other teachers thinking. Elsewhere school staff are turning to the TES for advice on how to create a minibeasts washing line across the classroom.

More than 100 people have turned to the TES resource bank ( to download a minibeasts washing line page. The page features pictures of a slug, woodlouse and other creatures to be cut out, which can be laminated and pegged on to a classroom washing line.

A game of minibeasts lotto, which has bingo cards combining high-frequency words such as "the" with pictures of minibeasts, has attracted the attention of more than 90 people.

For some teachers though the topic is more challenging: "I'd love the worms Powerpoint presentation," said one. "Mind you I might have to get my nursery nurse to show it to the children because I don't like worms!"


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