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1 Hour
Book Program
Year Levels


Megabugs are big (mega) bugs that existed on Earth during the Carboniferous period, from about 359 million to 300 million years ago. There were dragonflies three times the size of today’s largest species and centipedes 2m long. Scientists believe it was the higher level of oxygen, due to the vast lowland swamp forests that existed during that time, and the lack of decomposers that contributed to arthropods being much larger than today.

Prior Knowledge

No prior knowledge is required. This can be a pre-visit, post-visit or a stand-alone activity.

Key Learning Question

What are megabugs?

Learning Intentions

In this activity students will:

  • Understand how fossil evidence can unlock our understanding of arthropods of the past


Students will:

  • Observe present day arthropods using magnifying glasses and microscopes, and collect measurements and other data
  • Use fossil evidence to observe arthropods from the Carboniferous period, and collect measurements and other data
  • Compare the difference between present day arthropods to those from the Carboniferous period
  • Discuss why arthropods were larger in the Carboniferous period

Victorian Curriculum

Science – Biological sciences

  • Living things can be grouped on the basis of observable features and can be distinguished from non-living things (VCSSU057)

Science – Earth and space sciences

  • Earth’s surface changes over time as a result of natural processes and human activity (VCSSU062)

Mathematics – Using units of measurement

  • Level 3: Measure, order and compare objects using familiar metric units of length, area, mass and capacity (VCMMG140)
  • Level 4: Use scaled instruments to measure and compare lengths, masses, capacities and temperatures (VCMMG165)

Learning Continuum

The following Learning Continuum is a guide for teachers to show the links between the programs. Ecolinc offers onsite, online and through outreach. The Learning Continuum can be used to access Ecolinc resources to support the development of units of work.

Ecolinc Learn Online is an online learning management system offering interactive online courses for students and teachers. These courses can be undertaken either as a pre-visit, post-visit or stand-alone.

Outreach programs are conducted by an Ecolinc education officer at your school. They are available to moderately disadvantaged primary schools in the Geelong, Ballarat and western suburbs areas (or within 100km radius from Bacchus Marsh).

Learn Online Post-program:

☞ Digging Deeper


☞ Megabugs