Arizona Science Center: Backyard Bugs

Have you ever wondered why bugs follow the light?

Ever wondered just how many different bugs live right in your backyard? Bug out in your own backyard and witness just how much biodiversity you have right at home! Many insects navigate using natural light sources, such as the sun or the moon. In this activity, you will simulate the moon in order to guide bugs right where you want them so that you can see them all up close and personal!


One (1) large white bed sheet or piece of butcher paper
Two (2) Flashlights
One (1) Roll of duct tape
Optional: One (1) Magnifying Glass


1. Find a large, open spot on a wall or tree.
2. Tape sheet or butcher paper to wall or tree so that it is hanging down vertically.
3. Set up flashlights so that they are pointing towards the sheet of paper.
4. Turn on flashlights and leave them on for a couple of hours. (This step is best done right before or when the sun goes down.)
5. Come back and look at the different bugs on your sheet of paper using the magnifying glass or just your eyes.

Guiding Questions

1. How many bugs did you find?
2. How many different types of bugs did you find?
3. Would there be different bugs at a different time of day?
4. Would there be different bugs in a different season?
5. How do you think the location that you picked impacted the variety and number of bugs that you found?

Science Topics
Biology, Ecology, Zoology
Early Childhood, K-6
Preschool, Kindergarten, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade
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