Insect Outreach Kits

The UNL Entomology department has a number of outreach kits available to educators (teachers, librarians, Extension, etc.) for check out. These can be used to teach a variety of entomological related topics to children of all ages. Below see a description of the kits we have available. If interested in borrowing any of these kits, please fill out this form.

Note: If you are interested in seeing what each kit contains before checking it out, or reproducing a kit all or in part for your own location instead, click on the kit title links for content guides and associated activities. Kits can easily be reproduced with a box or bin and the materials listed here.

Entomology Outreach Kit Descriptions

*Available for public check out

*Kit 1 and 1A: Insect Life Cycles

With this kit, students will learn about the life cycle of insects. The included “pasta” activity will illustrate that animals can go through major changes as they grow and develop. Some insects (like butterflies, but also beetles, flies, and bees) develop by complete metamorphosis with 4 life stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.

 *Kit 2: Insect Aesthetics

Insects are diverse and have aesthetic value. This kit includes a variety of pinned specimens that demonstrate the beauty among insects. It also includes an origami activity where students can make a number of different insects.

 *Kit 3: Cockroach Tractor Pull

Many insects are capable of lifting and moving many times their body weight.

At the 2012 Olympics in London, a gold medalist in men’s weightlifting (Ilya Ilyin) managed to lift 513 pounds. Elephants can lift 600 pounds with their trunk. But for their size, insects are the real champion weightlifters, some species able to lift 50 times their weight!

This kit includes an activity that demonstrates how Madagascar hissing cockroaches can carry more than their weight. Cockroach “athletes” will be provided when the kit is requested.

 Kit 4: Insect Communication

Insects, like humans and other animals, communicate in many ways…sight, touch, smell, and sound. This kit includes an activity that demonstrates how insects like termites release pheromones to indicate to other termites where food is located or alert of danger. Termites will be provided for the activity.

 *Kit 5: Be the Bee

Bees are extremely good pollinators. What traits make them so? Things such as hairy bodies and special pouches on their legs allow them to spread pollen efficiently. This kit includes a game that demonstrates how bee characteristics make them such successful pollinators.

*Kit 6: Insect Basics

What makes an insect? Some unique characteristics that all insects have that separate them from other animals are an exoskeleton, 3 pairs of legs, antennae, and (usually) wings. Within the insects, there are also a variety of different types of mouthparts, wings, legs, and antennae that help species adapt to their environment.

 This kit includes a number of insect models and pinned specimens demonstrating the diversity of insect design. An accompanying activity asks students to create their own insect based on what they have learned about insect anatomy and behavior (e.g., raptorial legs help grab prey in praying mantids, a predatory insect)

 *Kit 7: Insect Costumes and Puppets

This kit offers a variety of costumes/clothing and puppets with an insect theme for use in your programs. Examples include ladybugs and bees.

*Kit 8: Insect Stamps and Rubbings

This kit is good for a booth or large group event. It includes a number of insect rubber stamps and a rubbing activity students can do with insect templates.

*Kit 9: Insect Collecting and Pinning

This kit provides an insect collection for observation and large wooden insect examples to practice pinning. After learning proper collecting and pinning techniques, students can practice their skills by capturing and collecting their own specimens. Items needed for collection/pinning are included, including a field guide that can assist with identification.

Kit 10: Compost Critters

This kit includes insect containers, gloves, and digging tools for use in going through compost/soil in search of arthropods. Teach about the types of arthropods that help us in aerating soil and breaking down organic matter.

*Kit 11: Pest Scene Investigation

This kit teaches about pest insects and integrated pest management. It also provides a look at pests using forensic science. How are pests like criminals? What are methods for finding insect evidence and how can we control insects? With a number of activities and demonstration materials, this kit provides a thorough look at what pests are, what damage they do, and how to manage them.