Insect Discovery

Insect Discovery is a University of Arizona outreach program primarily for elementary school students. The program is designed to stimulate students’ scientific curiosity through hands-on activities using live and preserved insects. Children are natural scientists, and early engagement in science learning is important both to stimulate interest in a scientific career and to promote general scientific literacy. In Arizona, insects are major component of the 2nd grade science curriculum. Our program provides a variety of resources, including classroom visits, workshops and lesson plans, to help teachers make the most of their students’ fascination with the amazing and diverse world of insects.

What we offer

Classroom Visits

  • Describe and review the special characteristics of different insects by meeting and handling Bob the hissing cockroach and his relations then comparing them to Millie, Mr. Wiggles, and our other native millipedes
  • Observe insect diversity using pinned specimens from the University of Arizona Insect Museum collection
  • Strengthen observation skills and appreciate the unique qualities of individual insects by creating a scientific drawing of a living ladybug (lady beetle, actually)


  • Students explore our walk-in butterfly enclosure, observe butterfly behavior, and hold live butterflies
  • Learn about the scientific method by conducting a feeding behavior experiment with live crickets by collecting data, graphing the results, and discussing the conclusions
  • Play a game that demonstrates camouflage and the science behind this fascinating evolutionary adaptation
  • Explore the amazing diversity of insects using specimens from the University of Arizona Insect Museum collection
  • Dig for and observe decomposing insects and learn about the process of soil-making

Elementary school students

Classroom Visit Policies

  • All classroom visits are free of charge
  • Visits involve hand-on activities designed for a regular classroom of no more than 30 students. Therefore, please do not combine classes for the visit
  • To provide equal education opportunities, we prefer to visit all classes of a particular grade at each school - please try to coordinate with other teachers in scheduling visits!
  • If a teacher is absent the day of the visit, please re-schedule by contacting Kathleen Walker

Workshop Policies

  • Workshops take place at the UA Flandrau Science Center in the spring
  • Registration for the workshops opens in August of the previous year
  • Workshops tend to book early, so contact Flandrau Science Center (520-621-4516) to find out whether workshops are still available
  • Each workshop room can accommodate no more than 30 students, and two workshops are held at the same time each workshop day

Science Field(s)
Entomology, Life Science

Our schedule is flexible for classroom visits, but availability is mostly in the fall
Workshops are offered in the spring only, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from early February to the beginning of May

Classroom visits are free
Workshops are $5/student or $4/student for Title I schools; teachers and chaperones are free

Kathleen Walker, PhD
(If possible, please use email to schedule a classroom visit)
(520) 626-2088

Related Website
Insect Discovery