Bugs on the Move

Let insects spark curiosity and critical thinking in your classroom!

After four years of offering exciting and engaging field trips at our downtown location, the Missoula Insectarium is ready to get its wings! In the summer of 2019 our lease will run out, but a new state-of-the art facility is being designed in partnership with the Missoula County Weed District & Extension Service. The new facility will be located at the fairgrounds and will feature a larger classroom, tropical butterfly house, larger exhibit space, outdoor classroom, demonstration gardens and more. As we transform we will offer engaging in-class programs to the Missoula community and surrounding area.

An architect’s rendering of the future Missoula Butterfly House & Insectarium location.

Starting in the fall of 2019 we’re taking the show on the road. Each field trip will bring Bug Ambassadors into teachers’ classrooms, feature an enthusiastic and knowledgeable instructor and be aligned with Next Generation Science Standards.

Cost & Group Size:

Preschool – $80 for a class of up to 20 kids
K – 6th grade – $120 for a class of up to 30 kids

These prices include travel costs within a 20 mile radius of Missoula. Beyond that, standard state set mileage reimbursement fees apply.

All programs feature one classroom visit, are one hour long and follow the pricing structure laid out above except for Powerful Pollinators. See program description for details.


In an effort to ensure that as many schools as possible are able to experience exciting arthropod education we work hard to ensure that scholarships funds are available each year. We have distributed all of our available scholarship funds for the 2019/2020 school year but we anticipate having additional funds next school year. Check back to this page for future scholarship opportunities.

Program Descriptions:

Preschool: Lil’ Bugs
We LOVE playing to learn about bugs with preschool classrooms and groups. During each program we’ll meet a friendly Bug Ambassador, act out something cool about that bug and then do a simple and fun craft that helps us to keep learning about that animal. These programs are designed to be fun, simple and active – perfect for young learners with a healthy case of the wiggles.

Kindergarten: Creative Camouflage
What would a bug look like if it were perfectly adapted to camouflage with your schoolyard habitat? In this fun and creative program students will practice their observation skills on bugs from around the world that are experts in the art of camouflage, discussing how these traits help them to survive. The adventure wraps up with a chance to design an insect, a brand new species, using leaves and other natural elements from around your school to inspire its camouflage.

Standards: “Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals, including humans, need to survive” (NGSS: K-LS1-1)

First Grade: Bug Biomimicry
What kind of inventions can we come up with if we use the bugs around us for inspiration? During each visit students will observe Bug Ambassadors and participate in engineering challenges to prototype an invention inspired by that animal.

Standards:  “Use materials to design a solution to a human problem by mimicking plant and animal structures and functions that help them survive, grow and meet their needs” (NGSS: 1-LS1-1)

Second Grade: Powerful Pollinators with the Missoula County Weed District & Extension Service

Thanks to a partnership with the Missoula County Weed District this program is being offered free of charge.

This program features two visits to the classroom: one lead by the Weed District to explore structure and function of native plants that aid in pollination and one by the Missoula Insectarium to investigate the structures of insect pollinators that aid in the distribution of pollen. The program culminates in a field trip to a local open space area with both organizations to observe insects and plants in their native habitats. The emphasis of Powerful Pollinators is less about identifying specific species and more about helping students develop the ability to observe, make connections, ask questions and argue from evidence, all in the context of pollination.

Standards:  “Develop a simple model that mimics the structure and function of an animal in dispersing seeds or pollinating plants” (NGSS: 2-LS2-2)

Second Grade: Powerful Pollinators Stand Alone Program

At this time, we are only able to schedule the MBHI portion of this program for the 2019/2020 school year. Our Powerful Pollinators stand-alone program offers area second graders the opportunity to interact with live Bug Ambassadors and investigate real pollinator specimens. It is a contained one hour long experience, regular Bugs on the Move pricing applies. 

“The “Powerful Pollinators” field trip provided my students a hands on experience that is deeply connected to our 2nd grade science standards. The field trip provided kids the opportunity to explore, inquire and investigate, starting with time to explore all of the “Bug Ambassadors” before zooming in to focus on pollinators specifically. My students walked away with a great understanding of what is considered a pollinator and characteristics of pollinators! As we dive in deeper back in the classroom, my students now have important background knowledge to help us dig deeper into our learning!”

Jennifer Molloy, Russell 2nd Grade Teacher

Third Grade: Amazing Aquatic Arthropods
During this program students will discover the fascinating world of the aquatic arthropods with which we share the local rivers and streams. These amazing animals have unique life cycles and fascinating adaptations and traits. Students will pour through bins of river water to observe and sort the nymph stages of caddisflies, stoneflies, mayflies and more.

Standards:  “Develop models to describe that organisms have unique and diverse life cycles but all have in common birth, growth, reproduction, and death” (NGSS: 3-LS1-1)

Fourth – Sixth Grade: Exciting Experiments
The Insectarium has a series of exciting arthropod-based experiments that are suitable for 4th – 6th grades. Students will learn a range of new things about the arthropods featured in the experiment and hone their scientific skills. Teachers can choose from one of two experiments. The first experiment investigates habitat preferences experiment using roly polys, while the second tests and calculates the strength of bess beetles. Both focus on the construction of a hypothesis and simple experiment design, and provide ample hands-on time with the Bug Ambassadors.

Standards: (NGSS: 4-LS1-1) and (NGSS: 4-LS1-2)

Sign Up to Learn More

Scheduling for these programs has not yet begun but fill out this short form to let us know a little bit more about your class and we’ll reach out as soon as we get that ball rolling!

Feel free to contact Museum Educator Carolyn Taber with any questions directly: 406-317-1211 or carolyn@missoulabutterflyhouse.org

Bugs on the Move Inquiry