Pre and Post-Visit Activities

glasses and books illustration

Illustration by Trish Roberts, Exhibits & Design Volunteer, 2016.

Pre and post-visit activities can help you introduce the museum to your classroom, explore concepts and vocabulary, or wrap up a visit to the museum. As you scroll through, you will notice that the educator resources provided on this page are organized by grade level within each category.

We encourage you to try an activity before and after your field trip, to help tie your visit into your current lessons.



Having your students keep a nature journal throughout the entire year is a great way to help them connect more with the outside world and gain a better understanding about nature. It can be a peaceful activity that may bring a sense of joy and wonderment to the science curriculum. Nature journals can be used in a variety of ways – both for every day use or tailored to the specific needs of unit or lesson plans. Nature journals can be used as a stand-alone activity or they can be used as the main book that your class uses to document their learning in Science throughout the year. Here are some resources compatible with the nature journal concept:

Adaptation Exploration: Bird Beaks
This resource package includes a lesson plan, suggested materials, and a worksheet to help your group explore adaptations with common objects while developing fine motor skills! | Grades K-3

Textures and Rubbings
This creative hands-on activity is designed to get students excited about textures they can find outside | Grades K-4

Creating a Nature Table
A nature table is an area in a classroom that is dedicated to collecting and displaying items found outdoors, and can help bridge the gap between the indoor classroom and the outdoor world. This resource package provides suggestions to help you incorporate a nature table into your classroom | Grades K-7

Nature Journal Blank Sheets
This document includes a printable, blank nature journal template to get your group started with their nature journals | Grades K-7

Nature Journal Blank Sheets with Labels
This document includes a printable, blank nature journal template with labels to get your group started with their nature journals | Grades K-7

Nature Journal Observation Sheets
These printable observation sheet templates will help your group incorporate drawings and images into their nature journals | Grades  K-7

Using a Nature Journal Year Round
This document will provide an overview for general uses of a nature journal, as well as ways in which it can be utilized for each of the four curriculum organizers in the British Columbia Science curriculum | Grades K-7

Making Connections to Biodiversity
When we think about biodiversity, our minds are usually drawn to wildlife and open spaces. However, biodiversity also exists in our local environment. This mini unit of inquiry aims to help students make connections to biodiversity in their local surroundings (specifically Metro Vancouver).
This resource includes several multimodal learning activities to encourage students to seek out and learn about biodiversity within the local environment. It is also a tool to help prepare you and your class before visiting the Beaty Biodiversity Museum. This resource contains a variety of activities suitable for all elementary grades and the content can be adapted for all ages. The activities can be introduced in any order depending on your needs. | Grades 1-4

Entomology Collage
In this activity, students will draw and observe an invertebrate, then share their drawings to make an amazing entomology collage with the entire group | Grades 1-7

Marine Invertebrate Classification
Learn to classify marine invertebrates through observation and encourage group discussions in this drawing forward, critical thinking activity | Grades 1-7

Bird Guide
This document will help you learn about some local bird species found here in Vancouver | Grades K-12

Bird Log
Click here for a great resource for adding bird-specific nature journal template pages to your group's nature journals | Grades K-12

Insects Guide
Use this guide as you search for bugs that live in your UBC backyard. The creatures in this guide are divided into major groups that scientists call classes, and more specific groups called orders. Use the information in this guide to classify insects found in your classroom backyard! | Grades K-12

Insects Log
Click here for a great resource for adding insect-specific nature journal template pages to your group's nature journals | Grades K-12

Insect Groups of BC Checklist
Print or download this scavenger hunt to help you record which orders (groups) of insects in BC that you find and observe outside. You may not find every order, but you can keep adding checkmarks over several years if you like! Most recent update: July 2021 Download the insect scavenger hunt here (pdf) | Grades K-12

Mammals Guide
Mammals aren’t the most abundant organisms on UBC campus, but they are here! Use this guide to learn about your common furry neighbours, and try to find signs of their presence | Grades K-12

Backyard Biodiversity Playlist
Join Linda Jennings, collections curator in the Herbarium, on an exploration of plants from the Vancouver area. These short videos each feature a different common plant, including thimbleberry, nettles, and more! | Grades K-12

Plants Guide
In this guide, you will find a few examples of local plant diversity around us here in Vancouver | Grades K-12

Plants Log
Click here for a great resource for adding plant-specific nature journal template pages to your group's nature journals | Grades K-12

Pressing Plants
Click here for step by step instructions on how to prepare plant specimens | Grades K-12

Pressing and Preserving Spring Plants
Join Linda Jennings, from the Herbarium, for an introduction to plant pressing. This one-hour video was recorded live in June 2020, and is a useful reference for anyone interested in preserving plants for the future. Start a classroom herbarium, create specimens, and learn about how plants are preserved in museums. | Grades 4-12

Seashore Walk Lesson Plan and ID Templates
This activity outlines an opportunity for students to examine the features of common seashore species and identify local and invasive species in the coastal region. Prior to the visit to the museum, this activity enables students to observe species when they are alive and identify the key features when they look at specimens during their museum visit. Use this template to create species identification sheets during your exploration. | Grades 6-10

Five Minute Field Trips are quick excursions into your schoolyard to learn in a natural setting. They are a great way to provide cross curricular learning opportunities, make use of small chunks of time and ensure that your students have regular opportunities to learn in nature. These activities capitalize on students’ interest in and fascination with the natural world, allowing you to more easily engage them in the curriculum. It also provides students a chance to stretch, decompress or work off excess energy.

Alphabet Walk
Can you find something that starts with each letter of the alphabet? Combine classroom learning with an adventure into the outdoor world with this printable alphabet walk worksheet. | Grades K-4

Map out your surroundings and learn to observe the world around you in this printable sketching activity worksheet | Grades K-5

Rainbow Walk
Head out on a walk in your neighborhood, park, or school yard. Can you find all seven colours of the rainbow on birds, insects, plants, and other objects? Does it change if you go out during different months? Use this worksheet to sketch or make notes, or challenge students to take photos instead! | Grades K-5

Find and Sketch
Observe and sketch nature with this  printable worksheet. Take your group outdoors to find and sketch something that is decomposing, growing, ephemeral, permanent, new, or old in your classroom backyard! | Grades K-7

Inspire your group’s creative side with these artistic activities:

My Beaty Pet
Inspire your group's creativity while reinforcing the things they learned during a museum visit! This document provide instructions on how to create a story or movie from an organism at the museum | Grades K-4

Adaptation Exploration: Bird Beaks
Explore adaptations with common objects while developing fine motor skills with this lesson plan, teacher checklist and worksheet. This activity is a staple in many junior elementary classes. It can be adapted to different themes and body parts. In this example, we are discussing bird beaks and food. You could discuss mouths of other animals, different leg adaptations, different ways birds use beaks, etc. Get creative! | Grades K-4

Adaptation Creation
Students will make up a creature – this can start like a plant, animal or fungi (or anything else you can think of). The students will need to determine where it lives and come up with three adaptive features of the creature that will make it most suited to its habitat. This document contains detailed instructions and proposed modifications  for this activity | Grades 3-7

Practicing Artistic Observation
The goal of this activity is to have students build their observational skills by illustrating botanical specimens found in the museum's collection database.  This document includes a guide for navigating the database, and instructions and modifications for this activity | Grades 4+

Beaty Biodiversity Museum Phylo CardsPlaying cards on a table
Phylo is a card game that celebrates ecosystems in all their awesomeness.  Building off the popularity of trading card games like PokemonPhylo showcases the many weird, wonderful, and wacky species that live on Earth and deals with some serious threats to ecosystems, such as wildfires, oil spills, and climate change. Players use their cards to build food chains, create stable ecosystems, sabotage opponents’ ecosystems, and rack up points in the process. Phylo works like other trading card games, allowing players to add extension decks and trade cards with fellow players.

Check out the Beaty Biodiversity Museum Phylo cards page, the PDF of the downloadable Beaty Phylo cards, and for the rules and guidelines of the game and other information. If you'd like to create your own cards, you can download a template which includes instructions for a simplified game.

ABCs of BC's Native Plants Colouring Sheets
Download 26 sheets exploring native plants, algae, and fungi from the lower mainland region of BC. Each accurate illustration was drawn by a teacher candidate student in 2024, and features detailed line drawings and letters, ready for you to colour! Some featured species include: arbutus, bunchberry, cedar, rockweed, salal, and thimbleberry.

Black-Capped Chickadee Colouring Sheet
Showcase the beauty of black-capped chickadees with these printable colouring sheets, two per page.

Butterfly Colouring Sheet
Encourage your group's artistic creativity with these printable butterfly colouring sheets, two per page.

Butterfly Origami
Make your own butterflies with these printable instructions for three methods for creating origami butterflies for all skill levels. Watch our video to help you fold the intermediate-level butterfly. Use any paper you have that you can cut into a square, we suggest recycling scrap paper and colouring it before you fold!

Copepod Colouring Sheet
Colour these amazing aquatic creatures in different life stages. Resource from Researchers Revealed online exhibit.

Herring Colouring Sheet
Boost your lesson with these printable herring colouring sheets, two per page.

Invasive Plants Colouring Sheet
Learn about local invasive plants with these printable invasive plant colouring sheets.

Insect Mouthparts Colouring Sheet
Learn about chewing, piercing, sponging, and siphoning mouths as you colour!  Resource from Researchers Revealed online exhibit.

Insect Orders Colouring Sheet
Colour some of the major orders of insects in British Columbia. Resource from Researchers Revealed online exhibit.

Mushroom Colouring Sheet
One of our favourite fall creatures, mushrooms are a beautiful organism to colour. Resource from Researchers Revealed online exhibit.

Seaweed Colouring Sheets
A series of scientifically accurate colouring sheets of BC seaweed species. Special thanks to Dr. Bridgette Clarkston and her class for sharing their beautiful art!

Find more from this series in the Researchers Revealed online exhibit.

Stickleback Colouring Sheet
Sticklebacks are beautiful fishes with different features that give you clues about how they live. Colour two types in this colouring page. Resource from Researchers Revealed online exhibit.

Vancouver Plants Colouring Sheet
This colouring sheet includes native and introduced plants to Vancouver, including magnolia, blackberry, hemlock, and yew.

Yeast Colouring Sheet
Colour the different life stages of yeast, and learn how to tell if a cell has reproduced. Resource from Researchers Revealed online exhibit.

100 Treasures
We’ve opened our cabinets to reveal 100 Treasures in honour of UBC’s 100th anniversary and our 5th birthday. Inspire your group's creativity and curiosity by looking at stunning images, reading stories about each treasure, and exploring at

A green pinned butterfly sits on a piece of foam on top of a journal page with a drawing of the butterfly and it's lifecycle.

Photo and art by Bea Martin, 2021.

Curiosity, Creativity & Beyond: Nature Journaling Projects
Join artist Bea Martin in drawing numerous different organisms from the world around you. These videos have complete instructions, materials lists, and feature creatures like insects, plants, birds, and more!
"Bea is a character animator, certified medical illustrator (CMI), nature journal educator, and Fulbright Scholar with a medical background. With curiosity and enthusiasm, her goal is to craft entertaining, inspiring, and educational stories, merging art with science in both digital and traditional media in a creative collaborative environment. She loves sketching outdoors and supporting the creativity and artistic development in children through nature journal workshops and her website Curiosity, Creativity and Beyond (developed thanks to a Small Neighborhood Grant by Richmond Cares, Richmond Gives). And she also makes (and eats) her own bread!'

The Five Senses Research Package
Inside you’ll find activities, worksheets, and vocabulary lists to enhance your student’s awareness of all of their senses | Grades K-3

A Day In The Life of Our Class Invertebrate
Learn about the invertebrates in your classroom backyard! For this activity, the teacher is encouraged to bring the students outside around the school grounds and have them find one invertebrate to “adopt” as a class pet | Grades K-4

An Invertebrate's School Life
Document the invertebrates in your classroom backyard and prepare a report of your choice! The educator is encouraged to take students around the school grounds looking for as many invertebrates as they can find in order to kickstart a number of creative classroom activities | Grades K-4

Build an Ecosystem
Find what it takes to make a complete ecosystem in this inquiry-based activity. Included here is an activity outline to inspire your group's project! | Grades 4-7

Peppered Moth and Natural Selection
Use this poster to help discuss peppered moths as an example of evolution by natural selection. This poster includes a timeline and definitions. | Grades 4-8

Trematode Life Cycle
Trematodes are common parasitic organisms in the ocean. Learn about their complex life cycles with our diagrams and discussion questions. Pair this resource with a video about Dr. Colin MacLeod's work.
Resource from Researchers Revealed online exhibit.
| Grades 4-12

Extending the Field Trip
After visiting the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, you may wish to continue on with some of the knowledge and experiences that your students participated in. Extending their learning can help put the field trip in a more relevant context and can provide an opportunity for exploration of a pathway of interest. Find out how to extend your museum experience with this resource page for educators | Grades 4-12

Quadrats and Transects in your Schoolyard
Scientists need to collect data, and they need to collect it in a way that represents the landscape well without using too many resources. Using the techniques taught in this activity package, learn to survey and analyze data in your classroom backyard using quadrats and transects. This activity package includes teacher instructions, lesson plans, and data sheets | Grades 4-12

Canada's Celebrity Species
Learn about the animals that are found in Canada and those that have become symbols of the country with this modifiable activity outline | Grades 5-12

Body Plans and Systems Educator's Guide
This comprehensive guide covers body systems in humans, and multiple animal groups. Use it as a reference for your units about bodies, and try out some of our activities. Specific guides have been built to match the BC Curriculum:
Grade 5 (Respiratory, Circulatory, Digestive, Muskuloskeletal systems)
Grade 6 (Excretory, Reproductive, Nervous, Hormonal systems) 
Resource from Researchers Revealed online exhibit.
| Grades 5-6+

Bone Structures Activity Package
Complement your museum visit and encourage the use of deductive reasoning to determine the feeding habits of some of the Beaty Biodiversity Museum’s skull specimens using this activity package. Included are printable templates, diagrams, a vocabulary list, as well as an additional collaborative, research-based project. | Grades 6-7

Intriguing Insects Activity Package
The goal of this activity package is to enhance your museum visit while helping familiarize students with insect morphology, encouraging observation and critical thinking. This activity package includes a diagram, cue card template, and vocabulary list. | Grades 6-7

Comparing and Contrasting Birds Activity Package
Encourage observation of the natural world and complement your museum visit with this multi-part activity package. This package includes pre and post-visit instructions as well as printable templates, vocabulary lists and worksheets. | Grades 6-8

Discovering Fossils Activity Package
Complement your museum visit and learn about how different fossil types are formed in this comprehensive activity package including a fact sheet, detailed activities, and printable templates. | Grades 7-8

Ecology Educator's Guide
This comprehensive guide covers different aspects of ecology that complement the Researchers Revealed online exhibit. Topics and activities include predator-prey, symbiosis, parasitism, climate change, human interactions, and more!
Resource from Researchers Revealed online exhibit.
| Grades 7-9+

Exploring Plant Life Resource Package
Inside you’ll find lesson plans and worksheets to explore plant life in the classroom, as well as the Beaty Biodiversity Museum. The lessons can be introduced in any order depending on your needs and unit plan | Grades 8-12

Ocean Acidification Resource Package
Learn about the processes and impacts of ocean acidification and climate change. This demonstration lesson plan includes a general science PowerPoint, and a chemistry focused PowerPoint. Both PowerPoints can be accessed from the website. Detailed instructions on demonstration set-ups and an extension activity can be found in this document. You may wish to add a seashore walk and ID cards to this lesson if you are looking for a real world field trip. | Grades 8-12

Place Based Inquiry Resource
Create your own inquiry project for your students using the Beaty Biodiversity Museum’s database. It can be easily modified to suit different grade levels. Overall, this project will have students investigating a specific location with regards to its ecology, exercising research skills by navigating and citing the database, and building a holistic understanding of their local
environment. This document includes a guide for navigating the database, and instructions and modifications for this activity | Grades 9-12+

100 Years, 100 Treasures Exhibition Project
Inside you’ll find a project for the 100 Years, 100 Treasures online exhibition and resources to go with this assignment. This assignment (pdf) can be applied to many topics within Science and Social Studies. Your students will explore the online exhibition, select five treasures, research their chosen specimens, and create their own exhibition exploring a topic or theme | Grades 9-12+

Explore Evolution Resource Package
Inside you’ll find lesson plans, worksheets, and a complementary activities to explore evolution in the classroom. The lessons can be introduced in any order depending on your needs and unit plan. Use the Explore Evolution Map and Speciation Sleuthing Project to complement this package | Grades 10-12

Evolution Educator's Guide
Learn about evolution with some of the examples featured in the online Researchers Revealed exhibit. We've included comprehensive evolution information, definitions, references, and activities. 
Resource from Researchers Revealed online exhibit.
| Grades 10-12+

Exploring Extinction Resource Package
This resource package is intended to supplement the Science 10 Natural Selection unit focusing on extinctions. Inside this package, you will find three printable worksheets with adapted versions for students with IEPs or requiring additional assistance, additional resources, and answer keys | Grade 10

Renewing Biodiversity Resource Package
This resource package is created for the Environmental Science 11 course, focusing on the concept of biodiversity. Students are encouraged to think about biodiversity as a renewable resource, like minerals and oil, and think about how biodiversity can be sustained by land conservation efforts of provincial parks with scientific significance. This package includes two activities, additional links, and answer keys | Grade 11

Beaty Collections and Online Exhibtions
Explore the Beaty's collections and fall in love with the diversity of life as you explore over 500 natural history exhibits, showcasing myriad fossils, shells, insects, fungi, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and plants from around British Columbia and the world. Explore our online exhibitions, including Beaty Treasures to learn about 100 behind-the-scenes stories! Use our databases to find data and photos for statistics, biological sciences, computer sciences, and more!

Researchers Revealed
From oceans to deserts to far-off jungles, scientists at the Biodiversity Research Centre are roaming the globe and uncovering the answers to questions they have about our world. Learn about scientists at the Biodiversity Research Centre and the work that they are doing via videos and photography. New for 2021, we've added a section of Researchers Revealed specific educator resources, including posters, in-depth lesson plans, colouring pages, and activities. View all of the resources on our exhibit page. Learn more about the Researchers Revealed process and progress during this Beaty@Home session from summer 2021.

Researchers Revealed: Downloadable Posters
Download versions of the stories from Researchers Revealed to print and post in your classroom. Learn about a variety of organisms from microscopic to large-bodied animals! Check the website for the newest editions.
Current topics include: copepods, evolution, marine ecosystems, camera traps, termites, plant identification, orca diets, and orca ecotypes.

Science Lesson Plans from Lessons in Ecology and Evolution FUNdamentals (LEEF)
The Lessons in Evolution and Ecology FUNdamentals (LEEF)  program through Let’s Talk Science UBC provides hands-on learning in ecology and evolution to local Kindergarten to Grade 12 students through experiential classroom learning activities developed by trained UBC graduate students and postdocs. The program was founded in 2013 and was previously known as MEED (Modules in Ecology and Evolution Development).

Student participants attend workshops on outreach and science communication, meet with their teacher partner, and ultimately deliver a lesson in the classroom or the outdoors. Lesson topics are typically selected by the teacher and student to align with the provincial curriculum and the student’s area of expertise. See examples of past lessons here.

The LEEF program specifically targets ecology and evolution education due to the importance of these disciplines to understanding current problems such as the loss of biodiversity with climate change, the spread of invasive species, and the vulnerability of species at risk.

Phenomenal Physics and Astronomy at Home!
In 2020, the UBC Physics & Astronomy Outreach Program shared physics or astronomy challenges that students can do at home. These activities are meant to be self-guided by students above grade 8, but can also be completed by younger children with the some assistance from parents and teachers. Each activity consists of a general introduction, summaries of physics concepts, videos, and online experiment simulations to support students’ learning experience. All ages are welcome to join! Find all current and past challenges here. 

For current challenges, UBC physicists and astronomers can answer participant questions, but we also encourage you to complete past challenges! The Beaty Biodiversity Museum partnered on their wind-dispersed seed challenge, a great fusion of physics and botany!

Understanding Evolution, Science, and Global Change from University of California, Berkeley
These three incredible resources from the University of California Museum of Paleontology feature thorough and accurate information, interactives, lesson plans, and resources to explore three critical concepts in biodiversity science:

  • Understanding Evolution is a non-commercial, education website, teaching the science and history of evolutionary biology. This site is here to help you understand what evolution is, how it works, how it factors into your life, how research in evolutionary biology is performed, and how ideas in this area have changed over time.
  • The mission of Understanding Science is to provide a fun, accessible, and free resource that accurately communicates what science is and how it really works. The process of science is exciting, but standard explanations often miss its dynamic nature. Science affects us all everyday, but people often feel cut off from science. Science is an intensely human endeavor, but many portrayals gloss over the passion, curiosity, and even rivalries and pitfalls that characterize all human ventures. Understanding Science gives users an inside look at the general principles, methods, and motivations that underlie all of science.
  • Understanding Global Change is the newest addition to the Understanding series. This interactive module allows students and educators to build models that explain how the Earth system works. The Click & Learn can be used to show how Earth is affected by human activities and natural phenomena.

Citizen's Coolkit on Climate Change and Urban Forestry
Do you want to climate-proof your home and block while bonding with your neighbours? Are you interested in discovering signs of climate change on your street and neighbourhood? Would you like to engage your students in climate change education through a multi-platform experience that they can customize to their own community/neighbourhood? If so, look no further – the Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning (CALP) at the University of British Columbia is co-developing multiple ‘Cool Tools’ to more widely engage and empower Canada's youth in the transition to low-carbon, resilient communities, with a focus on high-school education and local communities. If you would like to join them at any of their fun and interactive workshops to know more about the Coolkit and how to get started, please email them at

The following activities were designed to enhance your museum visit and can be completed in 90 minutes or less:

Beginner Biodiversity Quiz
Gauge your students’ understanding of biodiversity using this printable quiz and answer key | Grades K-3

Symbiotic Concentration Game
Explore symbiotic relationships with the printable cards included in this activity | Grades K-7

Biodiversity Rap
Learn how your students could create a musical tribute to biodiversity! | Grades 1-7

Observing Trackways
In this package, you will find a set of 5 photos and a lesson plan to help prepare your students to engage with the Dinosaur trackways exhibit at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum. The lesson will help familiarize students with the types of questions involved in the exhibit and help to broaden their understanding about why scientists study dinosaur tracks.| Grades 1-7

Dinosaur Poem
In this activity, students use their imagination to write their own simile poem about a dinosaur. This activity includes teacher instructions and a printable template for students to compose their poem and create illustrations. Included is a student example | Grades K-3

My Pet Dinosaur
Complement your museum visit using this writing activity. Using the templates provided, students are asked to use their imagination to write and draw about what it would be like to have a pet dinosaur in order to create a sequencing story. Check out this student example for ideas | Grades K-3

Roll-a-Story: Paleontologist for One Day
In this activity, students will write a creative story about discovering a fossil as a paleontologist. Using the roll storyboard provided as story prompts, students select one item to discover, the location in which they found it, and a problem they encounter. Check out this student example for ideas on how to get your group started | Grades 1-4

Advanced Biodiversity Quiz 
Gauge your students’ understanding of biodiversity using this printable quiz and answer key | Grades 4-7

Biodiversity Crossword Puzzle
Find out how to create your own biodiversity crossword puzzles with this puzzle template and answer key | Grades 4-7

Biodiversity Word Search
Learn how to create your own biodiversity word searches with this word search template and answer key | Grades 4-7

Parts of a Flower Worksheet 
Learn about the parts of a flower using this printable worksheet and its answer key | Grades 4-12