Saturday, September 26, 2009

Raising Gulf Fritillaries

Earlier last month, something was said about butterflies, and I casually mentioned that we could grow a butterfly. It is not an uncommon school activity and I was rather surprised at the lack of knowledge I met with this year’s kindergartners.

So as I do every year, I went in search of passion vine, where I know I will find bright orange spiky caterpillars and, if I look very carefully, eggs. I brought them in on Tuesday after Labor Day.

Long ago, B constructed this cedar framed pitched screen roof that fits a standard aquarium. Caterpillars are messy and paper towels in the bottom makes cleaning up their frass (caterpillar poop) easier. The two orange paper cut-outs are the beginning of our graph of the butterflies released.

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Here is a fuzzy picture of a chrysalis hanging from the cedar.

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They also will form them on the glass or even on the passion vine.100_8851

This past Friday, we had our first two adult butterflies. 100_8835

We looked at them with magnifiers and then released them in our garden outside our classroom door. The butterflies will often step right onto my finger to remove them from the tank.

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When they are ready, they take flight.

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Sometimes, it is a little first flight. This one went to the ground…

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before it got its bearings and flew for its first meal as a butterfly.

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The kids were looking at its long tongue.

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Take a look at a couple of the results of the writing generated from the activity. In the first, a pre-writer noticed lots of details, like the pitch of the roof and spikes on the caterpillars.

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This student has good sounding out skills and will soon learn that our writing goes from left to right and down. He wrote, “The caterpillar is going to change into a butterfly.” This child had no experiences with growing a butterfly before. He was so excited when I said we could grow one.100_8854

There will be lots of changing going on in our classroom this year.

2 comments:

wlhawh said...

I love watching the butterflies come out into the world.

Ducks said...

This remind me that when my oldest daughter was 4, she asked me "does butterfly make butter?