Friday, November 20, 2009

November 19, 2009 Day 4

Today we completed another caterpillar observation on the Day 4 page of our journals. We made our observations as young scientists, trying our best to draw what we saw inside the rearing boxes. Teacher: What do you see today? What do you observe the caterpillars doing? What can you draw that will help you remember what it looks like right now? As they worked, kindergartners talked about their observations with their peers and teachers.

We talked about the astronaut's first space walk today. We thought about how astronauts would be suited and tethered for their first spacewalk today. The caterpillars, however, would not be suited for a spacewalk out of the ISS as they are safely confined to their boxes. How does a caterpillar move around? On earth? In space? This is one of the questions the astronauts could try and answer in space while we understand it better on earth. We found out that caterpillars on earth "tether" themselves to whatever they are crawling across with a thread of silk produced near their "chins." Then, they crawl across it and attach to it with little hooks in their "feet." When the caterpillars walk across the plastic wrap window, we can easily see the "suction cup" feet and the 6 legs near the head of our caterpillars. In two of our containers we can see some silk the caterpillars are making on the sides.

We looked at photos from space posted on the website to see what the caterpillars are doing in space. We noticed that the caterpillars are "hanging on" and moving up and down across and through the food containers, just like they are doing in our classroom!
We were surprised they weren't floating. We think they are tethered like the astronauts are during a spacewalk. As we clicked through the photos, the children shared their observations: "Look! One is the color of a rainbow! How did that happen? Why aren't ours like that?" "Two are sleeping." "One is moving around a lot."

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