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A bugs life (Investigation)



We've learnt about categorical data, which is data that is sorted by groups or categories. Often we look at categories people fit into, such as hair colour, eye colour or gender. However, we don't always have to group people. Today we are going to run an experiment looking at insect diversity in your school playground.


1. Write your research questions & hypotheses

Points to consider:

  • How are you going to group/ categorise your data?
  • How will you record any types of bugs that don't fit in your categories?

Research questions & hypotheses:

  • Does your playground have a diverse range of insect life? Why/ why not?
  • What type of insect do you think will be the most common? Why?
  • What type of insect do you think will be the least common? Why?


2. Collect your materials

You'll need:

  • a one metre square of paper
  • sticky tape
  • a tally table (see below)
  • a pen


3. Run the experiment

  1. Create a tally table to record the number of each type of insect you see in the playground, similar to the one below
    Insect Tally Number
    Lady beetle    
  2. Tape a one metre square piece of white paper to the playground (somewhere close to a garden may be handy).
  3. Sit and watch your piece of paper for 10 minutes. Record the number of each type of insect you see in your table.


4. Interpret your data

  • Construct a column graph to display the different types of insects you observed in the playground. You can draw it yourself or construct it on a computer.
  • Write a paragraph about insect diversity in your school playground. Did your results match what you predicted in your research questions? Why do you think the results may/ may not match your hypotheses (predictions)?

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