Looking for bugs with magnifying glass


Knowing what wildlife lives where and how much is helps us to better understand and look after the natural world.

Without this knowledge it's difficult to know which species are rare and which might need our help. This activity is about identifying ALL living things (or as many as you can), in an area within a set period of time. 

This activity can be used to inform science lessons on habitats, food chains, food webs and the connections between different forms of life.


Are you doing this activity as part of your Wild Challenge? Take a look at your progress and go for gold!


This activity supports the following subjects: Science, Maths.


people have completed this activity

What do I need?

  • Things to help you find and see minibeasts eg magnifying glasses, bugpots, white sheet
  • A way of recording what you find, tally chart, tick sheet, use our supporting resources
  • Something to measure a metre square, ideally a metre square quadrant. Alternatively, you could use a hula hoop.
  • Identification guides 
  • A watch or stopwatch
  • Pencil and paper

     Score cards (English and bilingual)

     Spot it - ID guides for plants and insects (English and bilingual)


What do I do?

  1. Decide on an area to survey, and on the length of time you plan to take.
  2. Place the quadrat or hoop in the chosen area and count all the living things within it.
  3. Use the ID guides to help identify the species you find.
  4. Record what you find and count the number of living things you see. You could conduct a Bioblitz in different locations and compare the results.
  5. Don't forget to tell us when you have completed the activity! When you mark the activity as complete, you will be asked to upload a photo, drawing or species list to help earn your award.

Completing the activity

Use the 'Mark as complete' button at the top of this page to tell us you've completed your activity. You'll need to show us what you did by uploading a photo of your tally of species or a species list. You may want to upload photographs or drawings of what you've seen.

If you have done this activity face to face with an RSPB staff member then you can submit a photograph or scanned image of the postcard you were given.

Get them thinking

Here are some prompts to help with learning:

  • Think about two contrasting locations to look at. Can you predict any differences in what you might find?
  • Looking at the living things in your quadrant, is there evidence of a food chain/web?
  • What gives one quadrant a higher ecological value to another?
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