After a two month journey learning about the migration of our Monarch butterflies to overwintering sites in central Mexico, children began their today perplexed and very, very, curious. "Great news!" the morning message read, "Monarch caterpillars are going to outer space!" The children's curiosity led to an animated exchange of ideas at circle time:
Kindergartners: Monarch caterpillars can't go to outer space. Monarch caterpillars can't fly. They don't have wings. Caterpillars become butterflies and butterflies have wings. Maybe monarch butterflies are going to outer space? No, the morning message said that monarch caterpillars are going to space. Oh! I get it-a spaceship! They could go in a space ship! No, caterpillars can't drive spaceships, they're caterpillars. They can't turn steering wheels. Oh! They could just ride in a spaceship.
Kindergarten: Astronauts! They could ride in a spaceship with astronauts!
After the children arrived at this understanding by sharing their own ideas based on what they already know, we talked about the email we received about a project called Monarchs In Space. We had been invited, we explained, to join the project and learn about the changes in a caterpillar's metamorphosis to a butterfly on earth while astronauts, who will fly in the space shuttle to the International Space Station, do the same in space. We explained that we had to give Monarch Watch an answer immediately and so we had already replied to Monrach Watch. The kindergartners were glad we had said "Yes!" to the project invitation. Now we are eagerly anticipating the shipment of caterpillars and caterpillar food from Monarch Watch.