Species and Symmetry

We are surrounded by natural beauty that, if observed with an innocent curiosity, can help us understand our place in the world. In this activity, we immerse ourselves in natural history and use specimens in our Natural History Museum to help explain relationships between species and those distinctive features that tell us something about each one.

This activity unlocks the study of nature in three key ways:

  • Mindful observation of the similarities and differences between species. Use a dichotomous key to classify animals into taxonomic groups;
  • Creative documentation of these species through pencil illustration. Draw one of the animals and explore why it is unique from the others; and
  • Seeing and understanding symmetry.  Explore patterns and shapes of animals that give us insight into their development and evolution in nature.

This activity combines curiosity with creativity in the context of natural history and observation. Students will have an opportunity to consider different kinds of arthropods, and play with ideas around defining features and taxonomy. They have autonomy in choosing a specimen on which to focus their illustrations, and will be challenged to capture the detail of that animal. Their choice of arthropod will be used in a game of comparison to explore symmetry.