Monday, 8 June 2015

From Caterpillar to Butterfly

Our lovely, little caterpillars arrived on May 5. The science laboratory placed them in one container together but they needed to be transferred into their separate caterpillar houses. After mixing the growth medium and preparing their homes with appropriate air holes, we transferred the caterpillars into their new homes; most had a roommate to share their experience with.      
The growth medium provides the nutrients and water needed for the caterillars to quickly grow from 1 centimetre in length to approximately 5 centimetres in length in just two weeks. Within that time the caterpillars will grow out of their old skin a few times and that will be noticeable in their homes, this can be cleaned out as needed to provide the caterpillars a nice clean home to prepare their chrysalis. The very full and slow caterpillars begin to crawl to the top of the home where they will hang in their chrysalis for two weeks 

Raising butterflies:
  •   Encourages respect for living things (teaches children to be gentle when handling and moving the caterpillars or butterflies)
  • Promotes awareness and beauty of the life
  •  Investigation – children make observations
  • Parent - What do you see, smell? What has changed?
  • Develops patience as the children wait for the next stage to emerge
  • Child - “I’m going to check if the caterpillery is in the chrysalis yet!”

Extension Activities:
Play tag with a butterfly outside, remember to release them if you decide to catch them, they need their natural environment to survive.
Read books and sing songs about caterpillars, butterflies and other insects.
Use dramatic play to recreate the life cycle, crawl like a caterpillar, hide in a blanket or a tent as a chrysalis, emerge and flutter your beautiful, butterfly wings.

After our caterpillars enjoyed their meal for approximately 10 days, they begin pupation, also known as the chrysalis stage. They form their chrysalis and dangle from their cremaster (a hook-like tail). After another 7-10 days, the butterflies emerged! A red liquid called meconium is seen in the butterfly house, this is a colouring from the wings that the butterfly does not need. In about an hour the wings will dry and the butterfly is ready to take their first flight!

To feed the butterflies we mixed a sugar water solution, soaked a cotton ball in the solution and placed the cotton ball in the base of the butterfly house. For an extra treat, we gave the butterflies orange slices.
The butterflies may then be released to find their own food and lay their eggs to continue the life cycle!

Some of the comments, questions and observations from the children that demonstrated their understanding and thought processes:

“(The food) looks like baby food.”
“They look very small.”
“Can they breath?’
“How much longer until they will be butterflies?”
“I think they will grow in 3 hours!”
“Will they fly right away?”
“How big will they get before they make a chrysalis?”

Jada Fiissel

Jada has a Bachelor of Education, has completed her Yoga Teacher Training (300-hours) and a specialization in children’s yoga. She continues to deepen her own understanding through a dedicated practice and teaches adult and Kid’s Yoga throughout the city and incorporates yoga and the teachings in her daily family life.

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