Missoula Butterfly House & Insectarium Programs at the
Montana Natural History Center

Thanks to an exciting partnership with the Montana Natural History Center we are able to offer Insectarium field trip experiences at their location on Hickory Street, near McCormick Park. Your class can experience innovative and exciting educational programs, all paired with live Bug Ambassadors, using the MNHC classroom and exhibit space.

Program Descriptions

Each program description includes NGSS standards information as well as the target grade level. Many programs are designed with a specific grade level in mind but can easily be adapted for older grade levels.

Description: 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)
Grade: Kindergarten, but also up to 5th grade. Great for groups with a wide age range.

Description: 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)
Grade: 1st, but also up to 5th grade. Great for groups with a wide age range.

Description: Explore pollination from the perspective of the many insects that excel at the art of moving pollen around. We’ll use magnifying tools, real specimens and investigation journals to explore the structures on pollinator bodies that help them in their pollination efforts.
Standards: “Develop a simple model that mimics the structure and function of an animal in dispersing seeds or pollinating plants” (NGSS: 2-LS2-2)
Grade: 2
nd, but also up to 5th.

Description: 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)
Grade: 3rd, but also up to 5th

Description: This program is as much about discovering the scientific method as it is about the habitat preferences of our Bug Ambassadors. Students will work together to design and conduct a simple experiment using our roly poly Bug Ambassadors.
Standards: NGSS: 4-LS1-1 and NGSS: 4-LS1-2.
Grade: 4th and 5th

Description: Ever wonder just how strong beetles really are? Would your students like the chance to conduct their own experiments? This program brings in elements of math, experiment design and a chance to work with live bess beetles.
Grades: 6th –  8th

Description: This is easily one of our most popular programs and it’s all about spiders! We cover everything from spider anatomy and feeding habits to how they grow and defend themselves. We’ll meet a wide range of spiders and play a trivia game to dispel some of those troublesome myths about our eight-legged friends. 
Grade: Kindergarten and first graders love this program. It’s also adaptable for older students and groups with a wide age range.

Description: Who runs the world? BUGS! During this fun, hands-on program students will get the chance to learn about three major roles arthropods have in our ecosystem. We’ll talk about the importance of pollination, the balancing act of predation, and the dirty and messy world of decomposition.
Grade: Kindergarten – 4th

Description: In this fun and active program students will learn all about the special adaptations and behaviors arthropods use to survive in the wild. We’ll hold Bug Ambassadors and play movement-based games to learn about their survival adaptations. We’ll wrap up our time together with a simple craft that engages the students’ imaginations. Each student will envision a new species of arthropod that is uniquely adapted to survive in its habitat. This program is perfect for high-energy groups and those with a wide age range.
Grade: K – 8th