Monday, 23 May 2011

A visit from a Biologist!

On Friday, during the second block, Annette came over to share her insect presentation with us. Annette is a biologist from the University of Auckland and she spends a lot of time studying insects.

First she shared a Powerpoint about what types of insects live in different areas and told us how to classify if a creature is an insect or not. We learnt that insects always have 6 legs, 2 antanae and 3 body parts (head, abdomen and thorax) - which means that spiders aren't even insects! We also learnt that bugs are a certain type of insect, which means that not all insects are bugs! All of these creatures though are called invertebrates because they don't have a backbone, instead they have an exoskeleton (their 'bones' are on the outside instead of being on the inside, like the are with humans and animals.) We asked lots of good questions were able to answer some of the ones she asked us.

Then, we were tested on our knowledge. Annette gave us little containers that had creatures inside them. We had to decide whether the creatures were insects or just invertebrates, and note down special characteristics (exactly what they were.) Some of the insects were saw were alive! There was a big selection, including a monarch butterfly, a white-tailed spider (NZ's main poisonous spider), an earwig and baby cockroaches. We had fun trying to recognise what they were but some of us were creeped out by the live insects - especially the spider!

We were also shown a little bottle filled with alcohol and lots of dead invertebrates. These are known as pitfall traps. They are placed in the ground and the invertebrates fall into the trap over a period of days, and show the scientists the insects that are in the area. The pitfall trap that Annette showed us came from Motatapu Island and had lots of scary spiders (called arachnids.)

She also showed us a collection of insects that she'd caught and found herself, and that she'd pinned herself in a wooden box. They were all labeled and looked amazing.

We really enjoyed having Annette along to Learning Hub 3 and hope she comes back again. It was great to hear from a real biologist and it was clear that she knew a lot about invertebrates!

By Craig and Ben

Insects with Annette! on PhotoPeach


  1. Hi Craig and Ben
    I really liked your recount on insects with Annette. Do you find having guest speakers in your school a good way to learn?

  2. Hey Learning Hub 3!!!
    It was awesome coming to teach you all about insects! Thank you for getting involved and asking so many great questions! I hope you all learn some cool new facts and appreciate insects just a little bit more than you did before. Hopefully I will meet you all again soon! :)
    Until then... Keep your eyes out for our insect friends!!!

  3. Annette is an excellent guest speaker! She is a great person to have for this sort of thing!

  4. Hi minta-learning,
    I, myself think having guest speakers come in and talk to us is a good thing. It keeps us motivated, Annette got us to do the quiz which I thought was a good idea because all that talking went into use. In the quiz we had to remember the insects name and special features it had, and most of us remembered the insects.

  5. Hi minta-learning
    I think having a guest speaker Is a really good way of learning.
    When the guest speaker speaks I learn something new every time!
    It's a good way to learn new things.
    All of the experts out there, We can learn from them!

  6. Hi Minta-learning. Thanks for the compliment. Absolutely, guest speakers do help in our learning and it makes it more fun.

    Hi Annette. Thanks for the comment. We would love for you to come back in and show us some more about insects! Your presentation rocked and we learnt lots about insects (we even know we should be calling them now!)

    Mark, we agree with you. Thanks for looking at our blog.

    From Craig and Ben!

  7. Looks like it was fun learning experience. The Whitetail looked huge though!


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