For our insect project, the children showed an interested in learning about caterpillars and butterflies while reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Heather was able to obtain a caterpillar from Joanne, one of our old teachers, and brought it for the children to watch and observe. The children displayed a lot of curiosity as they checked daily for any changes of the caterpillar. He was a very hungry caterpillar, as he ate through two milkweed leaves a day and Heather had to leave him more for the night time too! He started to grow bigger and bigger each day. We thought about what his name should be and took it to a vote. We ended up naming him Lemon.
When we came in one morning Lemon had wrapped himself up tight into his chrysalis (at the top of the butterfly cage – the chrysalis was bright green with gold stitching) He stayed inside for over two weeks. We watched as the chrysalis went from bright green to almost black. It was the long weekend and we were afraid that Lemon would emerge over the weekend and have nothing to eat so Heather carefully took him home in her car. On Saturday, Lemon emerged from it’s chrysalis and Heather took lots of pictures so we could see what had appended over the weekend. As we would learn from Heather, Lemon was a boy. We learned that male monarchs have a small spot on the top surface of their hindwing and female’s do not. So from looking at Heather’s photos, Lemon was most defiantly a boy. Even though the children didn’t get a chance to witness Lemon emerging, they still enjoyed looking at the beautiful photos.
The following week, Lily said, “I want to make a girl butterfly!” This gave us the idea to create an experience using construction paper to create the antenna, body and wings. We used the IPAD for researching the specific colours, but the children wanted to use this opportunity to use a variety of colours and expand on their innovative developmental skills. Courtney encouraged the children to experiment with different colours and the wings looked so vibrant. Afterwards, the children helped Courtney to assemble the parts of the body before sticking it up on the wall for display so we could enjoy seeing it each day.