The month of October brings anticipation of Pumpkin Spice, fall leaves, Trick-or-Treating and...butterflies? The Pre-K4 students look forward to the arrival of their monarch caterpillars each fall.
Nestled between Frazer Hall and the VPAC, Pre-K students spend a magical hour each day tending to their garden. Students planted milkweed plants at their Garden Party in September. They have been tending to the plants daily during their Gardening block.
In mid-September, monarch butterflies began feeding on the flowers. Students noticed the appearance of white spots on the milkweed leaves. As weeks passed, holes started to appear on the leaves. They began to wonder what was happening. Upon further examination with magnifying glasses, students were able to see tiny caterpillars crawling on the plants. They began reading books about monarch butterflies and learned about the Life Cycle of a Butterfly. Students drew conclusions that the butterflies had laid eggs on the plant and caterpillars had hatched and begun feeding on the milkweed leaves.
The class watched week after week as the caterpillars began to grow. Students observed the process of molting, when the caterpillar outgrows its skin and sheds it. During the last phase of molting, students were able to observe a caterpillar as it formed its chrysalis.
Students documented their findings in the garden through illustrations and dictations in their Seesaw portfolio. They also partnered with an international organization, Journey North, to report findings in their garden. Students used an app to take pictures and record the numbers of eggs, larva and pupae in their garden. This helps scientists track the migration of butterflies as they make their journey to Mexico each fall.
To conclude their project, Pre-K4 will write and illustrate a published book about monarch butterflies. The book will be available in Pollard Library for check-out in the Spring.
Although students are sad to see the butterflies go, they look forward to their return in the spring migration. As one student put it, “This isn’t goodbye. It’s only see you later.”
Come visit our Open House:
Wednesday, October 26th at 8 AM - 10 AM