For more insect-related lesson plans and activities, visit my
Adopt-An-Insect lessons page.

PBL Presentation PPT

Bug Blitz -
A Study in Biodiversity

Download the
Bug Blitz Project Information file (includes links to the PPT and worksheets as well as information regarding learning standards.)


Unit developed by Tracy (Trimpe) Tomm & Dawn Hughes, 2007

Check out my newest "bug" project - Bug Blitz - A Study in Biodiversity
Download the Bug Blitz Project Information file (full lesson listed on the Adopt-An-Insect lessons page.)


Project Overview
The Butterfly Brigade unit challenges students to solve a problem involving the diversity of butterfly populations at a local refuge. After learning about biodiversity and methods for scientific investigations, the students work together to develop a method for surveying the butterfly populations at a local refuge that will result in accurate and reliable data. The students use their collected data in math class to create Excel spreadsheets and graphs to help them analyze the data.  During science classes, the students compare data sets from previous years to the current set to identify areas of concern with regards to the diversity of butterflies. The students use Internet resources to develop possible strategies that could be implemented to increase diversity in future years. At the end of the project, students create final reports to summarize their findings and strategies. The refuge manager and/or the wildlife biologist visit our classroom to hear their reports.

This problem-based learning unit was developed as a part of the Illinois Math & Science Partnerships project funded through a grant from the Illinois Board of Education.


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Teacher Notes
This module was developed for use with 8th grade students.  The majority of the lessons are designed for the science classroom with the data analysis lesson completed in the math classroom.  If a partnership between a math and science teacher is not possible, the module may be completed entirely in a science classroom.

Students will need to have prior experience with identifying common Illinois butterflies.  You may choose to limit your survey to a few easy-to-identify species in order to expedite the survey process and reduce possible errors in data collection.  An introductory PowerPoint presentation, field guide cards, and flash cards have been provided to help your students learn how to identify the 25 species listed on the Illinois Butterfly Monitoring Network Beginner’s List as well as a few from the intermediate category.  
NOTE:  It is not required that every student is able to identify every butterfly.  Rather they should be able to work together as a group and use the field guide to identify the butterflies they see at the refuge.

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Career Connections

Primary Career Pathway:   Natural Resources Systems
Occupation/Job Titles Related to this Scenario: Wildlife Managers, Ecologists, Park Managers, Environmental Interpreters
Recommended Teaching Subject Areas:  Life Science, Ecology

Cluster Knowledge and Skills and Performance Elements addressed:
Monitor natural resource status to obtain planning data
Employ environmental and wildlife knowledge to demonstrate natural resource enhancement techniques
Communicate natural resource information to the general public
Use science concepts, processes, and research techniques to examine natural resource topics
Examine biological and physical characteristics to identify and classify natural resources
Apply statistics, charts, and scatter grams to measure and monitor operations

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Problem Statement

The local board of the US Fish and Wildlife Service wants to increase the biodiversity of the butterfly population within Chautauqua Wildlife Refuge. Your task, as refuge manager, is to recommend a strategy to increase the diversity of the butterfly populations at this site.

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Project Objectives

Develop a procedure to conduct a butterfly survey
Identify data collection methods that will result in accurate and reliable data.
Conduct a field survey to document the diversity of the butterfly populations.
Analyze collected data to determine the diversity status of the butterfly populations and identify areas of concern.
Make a presentation to refuge staff that recommends a strategy that will have a positive effect on butterfly populations.

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Student Activities

Butterfly Boot Camp - I use these presentations as class warm-ups for a two-week period prior to the scheduled field trip. The presentations introduces students to butterflies commonly found in our area and provides quick quizzes. In addition, flash cards and field ID guides are available.  The students use the flash cards during class or study hall to practice their identification and are able to refer to the field guides during the survey field trip.
Presentations:  Brushfooted 1, Brushfooted 2, Brushfooted 3, Satyr, Swallowtails, Gossamer Wing, Whites & Sulfurs, and Skippers

Lesson #1: Biodiversity Basics
Students watch the Biodiversity of Illinois video to learn about issues related to biodiversity in our state.

Student Worksheet:  Biodiversity of Illinois

ALSO AVAILABLE for educator's outside Illinois ... The Wild Classroom Biodiversity worksheet to use with their biodiversity video.

Lesson #2: Butterfly Problem
Students work together to develop a survey method that will ensure reliable, accurate data.

Student Worksheet:  Butterfly Problem

Lesson #3: Name That Butterfly
This lesson provides students with the opportunity to use the butterfly flash cards to practice their identification. If time is available, students may practice their survey techniques by surveying the schoolyard or other local nature area.

Resources:  Lesson 3 Overview, Butterfly Flash Cards

Lesson #4: Survey Field Trip
The PDF download below provides an overview of the survey field trip procedures. Related resources are also provided.

Resources:  Lesson 4 Overview, Survey Data Page, Butterfly Field Guide

Lesson #5: Data Analysis Part 1
The PDF download provides an overview of the data analysis portion of the project completed in math class.

Resources: Lesson 5 Overview & Data Analysis Part 1 Worksheet
Also available ... Math Lesson Descriptions, Excel Basics Tutorial

Lesson #6: Data Analysis Part 2 & Final Reports
During this lesson in science class, students analyze the data compiled in Lesson #5 and develop three areas of concern. They use Internet resources to research the concerns and develop strategies taht could be implemented to increase butterfly diversity.

Resources: Lesson 6 Overview and Data Analysis Part 2 Worksheet
Also available ... Unit Assessment Guidelines and Materials

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Helpful Resources


Butterflies & Moths of North America -

Illinois Butterfly Monitoring Network -

North American Butterfly Association -

Links for students can be found in the Insects section of the Kid Zone Archive document.  

Printed Resources

Field Guide to Butterflies of Illinois – Available from the Illinois Natural History Survey

Butterflies through Binoculars – Available through most bookstores
ISBN-10: 0195106687

Golden Guide: Butterflies & Moths – Available through most bookstores
ISBN-10: 1582381364

Curriculum Resources

Biodiversity Basics – Available from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Curriculum Guide - Available at The video guide and lessons are included in the Supplemental Information section.

Biodiversity of Illinois Video - Available at . Teachers may also request a copy of the Exploring Illinois' Natural Resources DVD, which contains the video and videos from other DNR educational programs.

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© 1999-2024
The Science Spot was developed in March 1999 by Tracy Tomm Science Teacher @ Havana Junior High, Havana, IL.  Activities, lessons, & worksheets available on any page of this web site are intended for use by a single teacher in his/her classroom or to share at educational conferences.  Reproduction for commercial use or profit is not permitted without the consent of Tracy (Trimpe) Tomm. Visit my Frequently Asked Questions page for more details.