Damsels and Dragons

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In this outdoor activity/field trip, learners conduct experiments to explore where dragonflies and damselflies perch or rest, and how the flies change behavior in reaction to other flies or fly decoys. This activity must be done at a site such as a stream or lake where these flies gather, and offers a wonderful opportunity to see insects in nature up close and discover more about their non-flying time.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
45 to 60 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Experiment/Lab Activity, Field Trip, Lesson/Lesson Plan


Materials List (per group of students)

  • pipe cleaners (15 cm long)
  • thin sticks (1 to 2 meters long)
  • one-meter lengths of light nonofilament fishing line (4 to 6 pound test)
  • flat toothpicks
  • Landing Record Cards (page 5 of PDF)
  • Decoy Record Cards (page 5 of PDF)
  • pencils
  • set of marking pens (red, blue, green, brown, black)
  • roll of transparent tape
  • scissors
  • kitchen timer or watch with second hand


  • Life Sciences
    • Diversity of Life
      • Animals
    • Ecology
      • Ecosystems
      • Biodiversity
  • Mathematics
    • Measurement
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Asking Questions
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories

  • Animals
  • Nature and Environment
  • Outdoor Activity
  • Physical Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • read
  • be mobile
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



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