Showing posts from September, 2016

Finishing up our Insect Unit!

The last insect we learned about was probably the most peculiar: praying mantises! They get their name from the way they hold their front legs--they look like they are praying! We learned that those legs are covered in razors and used to snatch prey faster than the blink of an eye! Then, they use their strong mandibles, or mouth parts, to tear apart their prey. We were shocked to learn that they can eat prey up to three times their size...and sometimes the females will eat the males! Whoa, they are cannibals! Praying mantises can be nearly any color (even pink and purple!) making them masters of camouflage!
Students got to experience the world through compound eyes using these special glasses!
Then, students got to make their own praying mantises! First, they chose where in the mural they wanted theirs to be camouflaged. Then, they got their materials and got to work! Everyone was so busy (teachers included!), I didn't have a chance to snap a photo until the dust had settled.

Working in groups to learn about life cycles

We learned that each insect has a life cycle. They hatch from eggs,  then they go through a big change called metamorphosis in which they become something that looks quite different.  The students were put into groups to learn about the life cycles of ladybugs, bees, praying mantises, and butterflies. Each group had a video to watch and nonfiction books to reference to become experts about their insect's life cycle. They used this information to draw each stage on their paper.
Then, each member of the group randomly chose one stage of the life cycle. They were responsible for using materials to create their stage on a small plate. Then the group members brought their stages together to create a poster of the life cycle. 

There was so much creativity!
Then, each group presented their life cycle posters to the class to teach about the insect they learned about.

Here are the finished posters!

In related news, our butterflies emerged from their chrysalises!   Unfortunately, I couldn'…

We are crazy about bees!

Next up, learning about bees!  Through our nonfiction books and videos, we learned that bees are really important for pollination. 
Female bees visit from flower to flower drinking nectar and collecting pollen from the anthers in their pollen baskets and on their hairy bodies. As they visit another flower, some of the pollen falls off their bodies and sticks to the pistil on the flower, causing cross-pollination. This pollen helps the egg cells in the flower to create seeds!  We looked at lilies to see each part up close.
To help us understand this process better, we did a fun activity! 
Each child received a pair of pipe cleaner legs and antenna for their finger. They would each drink "nectar" (juice box!) from their flower and then fly to the middle of the table where three flowers with different colors of "pollen" would latch onto their legs. As they go from flower to flower, the pollen would stick to their legs and spread from one flower to the next.

Next, we …