A major goal of the Caterpillars Count! project is to provide a structured way for students and other interested individuals to learn more about the caterpillars and other insects that play a crucial role in our ecosystem.

One important avenue for learning is actually participating in Caterpillars Count! surveys. We hope participants gain an appreciation for the wild things that are easily overlooked, and an appreciation for the diversity of life all around us.

We are also very excited to promote additional learning experiences back in the classroom, whether or not you were able to participate in field surveys yourself. We are currently designing educational modules for elementary, middle, and high school classes that explore patterns in the Caterpillars Count! data, test hypotheses, and build on important concepts related to food webs, seasonal phenology, metamorphosis, climate change, and even bird migration.

Keep an eye on this page where we will post more example modules and learning activities. For now, check out these activities developed by Ryan Garland and Allen Hurlbert:


Arthropod Food Web

Phenology Across Trophic Levels

Inquiry-based learning using the Caterpillars Count! data visualization tools


Non-Caterpillars Counts! Lesson Plans

Suggested Grades: 6-12
Goal: Students gain practice in graphing while learning the difference between weather and climate
Note: Only pages 9-14 are suggested for this activity

Vernal Pool Data Analysis
Suggested Grades: 4-6
Goal: Students enhance their graphing skills while also learning about vernal pools in the Harvard Forest.

How do Changes in Weather Affect Butterflies?
Suggested Grades: 9-12
Goal: Students practice statistical modeling while learning about the effects of weather on butterflies.

Do Caterpillars Eat Faster When It’s Hot Or Cold?
Suggested Grades: 6-8
Goal: Students will expand their graphing skills while simultaneously learning about the effects of temperature on Manduca sexta caterpillars.

Weather and Climate Data Exploration
Suggested Grades: 6-12
Goal: Students explore the relationship between weather and climate by graphing weather temperature data and comparing with climate averages.