We had learned all about the butterfly lifecycle, and what better way to experience something than to see it happen before your eyes. I read this Let's Read and Find Out Science Reader entitled "From Caterpillar to Butterfly." In this story, the students in the class receive caterpillars in a jar, and are anxiously waiting for them to change or go through metamorphasis. This book is great at explaining key vocabulary appropriate for early learners. We learned that although our skin grows with us, a caterpillar's skin does not. Instead, it molts about 3 or 4 times. It sheds its skin and has a new one underneath. We actually saw this in our real-life observations. We learned that the caterpillar hangs from a button of silk, which enables it to attach without falling off the the branch (or in our case, lid of the container). Before we got our larvae delivery, I explained that we were going to be just like the kids in the book, discovering the life-cycle of the butterfly right before our very eyes.
After the caterpillars made their cocoons on the top lids of the containers they were in, we put them in this hand-made netting. It's made with paper plates on either ends, and tulle wrapped securely around. A large branch gives it stability and is suspended in the middle. We cinched the ends with clips and attached it to the ceiling. We put it in a spot everyone could view, but not such a high-traffic area that it would be bumped and jostled with our daily activities.
The cocoons before they hatched. They shook at times, but that button of silk held fast!
One of the several Painted Lady Butterflies after hatching (the butterfly in the story was also a Painted Lady!).
We sliced up oranges for them to feed on once they had hatched out of the chrysalis. The Science Reader explained that the butterflies eat through a long coiled tube called a proboscis. We actually saw them eating, which was so amazing! The proboscis was as long as one of their legs and went directly into the orange! So cool! The red you see in the picture, is the dye that came off their wings as they began to dry.
Here we are outside in our rock garden about to release the butterflies. Just like the students in the book, we were a little happy and a little sad. We were glad the butterflies were going to be out in nature, their true and natural home, but we were also going to miss learning and observing them each day!
We knew they were ready to find their true home because a few of them kept escaping into the classroom. They were ready to fly!
Off they go! I had to cover the faces, but the kid's expressions were just priceless as they saw the butterflies take flight! Look closely at the little guy to the extreme left! Mouth gaping open, his face was full of wonder and excitement! Priceless!
Hope your day is full of wonder and excitement too!