Add to collection
  • + Create new collection
  • If you enjoy Dr Seuss, you will enjoy Dr Hoare! Poetry with Fred the Thread – middle primary is a ready-to-use cross-curricular teaching resource. It uses a humorous poem read by author and scientist Dr Robert Hoare.

    Curriculum information

    This teaching resource is intended for NZC levels 2–3. The poem and accompanying activities support learning in multiple curriculum areas.


    • Recognise that text is shaped for a particular audience.
    • Recognise patterns and sounds in writing.


    • Living things are suited to their particular habitat.


    • Use devices and metric units to measure length.

    Customising the resources

    Scan through the Student worksheet: Poetry with Fred the Thread – learning activities for middle primary below. The worksheet is also available in a Word file here and in the link at the bottom of this page. In addition to the activities, the Word document has the full text of the poem, complete with images.

    Feel free to edit the Word document to meet the needs of your programme and your learners.

    Student worksheet: Poetry with Fred the Thread – learning activities for middle primary

    These learning activities use the poem Fred the Thread written by Dr Robert Hoare. Fred is a native caterpillar that lives in plants with long, very narrow leaves. Scientists think Fred might be the world’s thinnest caterpillar. No one even knew this caterpillar existed until a few years ago, when Robert helped to find him. Robert likes Fred so much that he wrote a poem about him.


    1. Watch the video and listen while Robert reads his poem.
    2. Play the video again. Use the words in the poem to read along with the video.
    3. Choose a favourite part of the poem and read it aloud on your own. Video yourself reading it so you can share the video with your class or someone else.
    4. Write down three words that describe what Fred looks like.
    5. Write down three things that Fred does.
    6. Fill in the table below:

    Words that rhyme with Fred that are easy for me to read

    Words that rhyme with Fred that are hard for me to read


    Fred is tiny! He is 2 cm long and 1 mm wide.

    1. Use a ruler to draw a line 2 cm long.
    2. How many 2 cm long caterpillars could fit along your 30 cm ruler?
    3. What can you find that is also 2 cm long? Fill in the table below.

    Indoor things that are 2 cm long

    Outdoor things that are 2 cm long

    1. Place one of the 2 cm items next to your ruler and take a photo of it.


    Fred is a tiny caterpillar that turns into a tinier moth. Fred the Thread’s life cycle has the same stages as a butterfly. The stages are egg, caterpillar, pupa and adult.

    1. Draw Fred’s life cycle. Use the images of Fred the caterpillar and Fred the moth when making your drawings, but you will have to guess what the egg and pupa stages look like. Remember to add a title and arrows to the life cycle.
    2. As an extension activity, what about finding a moth at home and identifying it?

    Writing and presenting

    1. Choose an insect you like (or don’t like) and write a poem about it. See if you can make some of the words rhyme.
    2. Read your poem to an audience (family or friends or classmates), or make a video recording just like Robert.

    Related content

    Poetry with Fred the Thread – upper primary and Science and literacy – using Fred the Thread have additional literacy ideas and science activities. Use them for extension.

    Check out the Ahi Pepe MothNet project. It has resources in te reo Māori and English.

    Activity ideas

    Moth collecting – watch Robert Hoare as he collects moths in an Auckland park, then think about how you might catch moths in your backyard. The Ahi Pepe MothNet website has Puka Whakamārama o Te Pepe Nui – Beginners’ Guides to the Macro-Moths. These are free, downloadable regional guides and are in both te reo Māori and English.

    Rear moths to observe their life cycles using pantry moths or wax moths.

      Published 19 April 2020 Referencing Hub articles
          Go to full glossary
          Download all