Over the last year, I have had such a great time learning how my kindergarten kiddos absorb different information. As a kindergarten team, we try to teach to the whole child and incorporate lessons that do just that. I have found the most success during our science block (which lends itself nicely to using all five senses during any given lesson). We have done many hands-on lessons teaching a variety of topics.
We have made Ooblick, done smell tests to identify differenct scents, eaten baker’s chocolate and learned a new word (hint: bitter!), and have even seen baby octopuses hatching from their eggs. It goes without saying that if your kiddo can see, touch, smell, taste, or hear it…they will enjoy and remember it!
Keeping all of this in mind, I am so excited about our next science topic: The Life Cycle of a Butterfly. I know that we are not the first class to do this and will definitely not be the last, but that will not limit the excitement I know these kids are going to have when I pull out our live caterpillars for the first time. I can not think of a better way to bring life (literally) to the classroom!
During the next few weeks, we will watch the caterpillars as they feed on the food in the bottom of their jar, fatten and crawl to the top of the jar, form a chrysalis, emerge from their cacoon, slowly dry out and gain their strength before we release them back into the wild. I also plan on having the kids involved in taking care of the caterpillar/butterflies. They will help me transfer the chrysalises from the jar to the netted butterfly house, find food to feed the butterfly, and will help me monitor the weather in order to pick a nice mild day to release them. By the end of this topic I am sure I will have a group of well-educated entomologists in training who are ready to tackle the rest of the insect world!
Bonus: The caterpillars can be found online at www.insectlore.com or www.amazon.com, so this study is not limited to the classroom! Just search live caterpillars for the classroom and you will find a surplus of reasoably priced materials to outfit your adventure. If you have a little one who is not in school yet this is a great way to incorporate science in the home setting. It takes up very little space and there are instructions and a book included to keep everyone engaged!
*image courtesy of jdmoar / flickr creative commons