Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Observing Caterpillars

Two weeks ago, we received some mail-order caterpillars.  The girls (and I) have been having a great time observing them and learning about the butterfly life cycle...

Our caterpillars got a rocky start as UPS (which delivers to our door and has email alerts for delivery) decided to hand off the package to USPS, which delivered the box to an outdoor community mailbox two days early without sending me an email alert.  They ended up sitting in the mailbox overnight (where it gets pretty cold in our state), and I was sure they had all died since they weren't moving.  Fortunately, after I brought them into the warm house, all ten caterpillars began to stir and I introduced them to the kids.

The kids (and I) were very excited to observe the little caterpillars crawling around their jars, eating food, shedding exoskeletons, and pooping.  They used their magnifying glasses to look at them up close, and we discussed their observations.

In their first "science journal" activity, I asked them to draw their caterpillars..

We also did some caterpillar-themed preschool activities..

We took a couple minutes in the beginning of our preschool sessions to observe our caterpillars every day.  In retrospect, I wish we had written down more of the observations and taken measurements of the caterpillars to track their growth (they got pretty fat and looked like they had doubled in length by the end of the first week).

A week ago, when we got back from a weekend trip, our caterpillars started their chrysalis stage.  I transferred them very carefully to their new butterfly pavilion (a mesh container), and we are now eagerly awaiting for our butterflies to emerge..  Once they do, we'll be doing more activities as we learn about butterflies and review the full life cycle..  but that's for a different blog post...

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