What's Going On?

Buzzing with life

Activity overview

15 mins
Ages 5 – 7

Science topics:

Living things and their habitats , Climate challenge

Spark a conversation with this video showing insects in a wildflower meadow. This activity is great for describing observations and applying ideas in unfamiliar contexts.

Run the activity

In this activity, the italic sections marked with the polar bear explain how you can link the children's learning to the Climate Challenge, and support the children to take positive action.

1. You’re going to watch a short video. The aim isn't to find right answers, it's to explore ideas and find out what they know.

  • Do they know what might happen based on the image?

2. After you've watched the video, lead a discussion with your class:

  • What can they see in the video?
  • What different insects are there?
  • What are the insects doing?
  • How many different types of flower or insect can they see?
  • How did they feel watching the video?
  • Do they think wildflower meadows are important habitats?
  • What other animals might live in this habitat?

3. Ask the class to describe what they saw using only one word.

Background science

When teaching children about the Climate Challenge, it is important that we give them the facts (age appropriately and sensitively). During your discussion, allow time for children to express their thoughts and feelings and have them validated.

Wildflower meadows support a rich variety of wildlife. Many invertebrates, including insects pollinate the different flowers, and the flowers provide food in the form of nectar and pollen. The insects are food in turn for other creatures such as small mammals and birds.

The wide range of plants in a meadow provides a succession of food throughout the year: from nectar and pollen to seeds. Because of this, wildflower meadows can sustain large populations of living things. Some plants will rely on the wind to disperse their seeds to new areas, while others are distributed by animals. The seeds might hitch a ride on small animals by attaching themselves to their fur. Alternatively, they may be surrounded by edible fruit and so spread with animal’s faeces.

Meadows are now one of Britain’s rarest habitats; 97% have been lost since the 1930s. The reasons for this include: development of land for housing, intensifying farming to provide more food, altered rainfall patterns (which is an impact of climate change) and pollution. We need meadows to provide shelter for overwintering creatures and to support the array of insects which pollinate food crops. With a loss of plant diversity, we risk a devastating loss of pollinators. Some farmers have planted wildflowers on their field margins (the edges of their fields) to help wildlife. Many gardeners are reintroducing wildflowers, long grass areas and hedges too.

Take it further

After giving children the information they need about Climate Challenge issues, give them time to express how they feel, empathising with them and validating their feelings before taking it further.  


Explore habitats in and around your school. How many flowers can you identify? You could use this spotter sheet or the free app Seek by INaturalist (user guide). Explore more habitats under threat from human impact, including different types of woodland in the Explorify Odd One Out activity, Thorny issue and different types of meadow in Meadow Feast.

Take a closer look at how a bee collects nectar and pollen with Explorify What's Going on? Busy bee or investigate how many bees visit some plants on your school ground.


The RSPB have created a simple video about planting wildflower seed. Find out more about the Plantlife’s No Mow May initiative by watching their introduction video.

Discuss with the children what could be done to help and if there is a positive action they can take themselves. Explain that when lots of people carry out small positive changes, it can have a big impact overall.

Positive action
You can encourage wildlife in your school grounds and help restore local biodiversity by planting your own wildflower meadow. The Wildlife Trust has a child-friendly guide about how to introduce wild flowers and offers further advice here. You could also register for support and match funding from the Earth Restoration Service’s Flutter Flowers here or sign up to be part of Backyard Nature. Do your pupils want to create a wildflower corner at home? They could make seedballs using these instructions and then find a suitable spot for them. For more ideas on small positive steps to help the planet, read our article on ‘The Climate Challenge’.

Videos from Pixabay, CC0 in order of appearance:

Caterpillar by Stefania Buzatu / Flowers by Dean Marston / Butterfly by dae jeung kim / Grasshopper by Daniel Seehausen / Ladybird by Oleg Gamulinskiy / Spider by CESAR AUGUSTO RAMIREZ VALLEJO / Field meadow by Christian Bodhi / Dragonfly by MixailMixail / Mosquitos by Hans Braxmeier / Meadow flowers by MixailMixail / Grasshopper on poppy by Roy Buri / Butterfly nectar feeding by FlickrVideos / Flowers wind petals by dae jeung kim

Music: The Forest and the Trees by Kevin MacLeod
Link: https://incompetech.filmmusic.io/song/4494-the-forest-and-the-trees
License: https://filmmusic.io/standard-license