Monday, November 23, 2009
November 23 Day 8 Back to School...
The kindergartners visited the space table with the caterpillar rearing boxes as soon as they arrived to school. Kindergarten was warm and cozy today at 8:00 am with temperatures two degrees higher than average temperatures last week. During our morning meeting, I shared with the kindergartners my observations of the splotchy, discoloration on the caterpillars on Saturday and the ideas I had for caring for caterpillars that seem to be growing more slowly than earthling caterpillars should be growing.
We added a bright light to the table where the rearing boxes are kept. It is much brighter than our overhead lights and will help the caterpillars know for sure that it is day time, even when we turn off the overhead lights when we leave the classroom to go to the library.
We observed the splotchy, discolored caterpillars in their own box, eating leaves intsead of the milkweed "pesto." "Sometimes," I explained, "caterpillars can get sick from germs that are too small for our eyes to see. If they are sick, putting them in a box of their own, away from the other caterpillars, may keep the others healthier."
Children noticed the leaves in the box and together figured out that they were milkweed leaves from the schoolyard gardens. Since we don't have enough milkweed "pesto" (space food) for these two caterpillars, we agreed to continue feeding them milkweed leaves as long as they wanted to eat. Even if they were sick, we agreed, we need to continue taking care of them and keep them warm and well-fed.
In the other boxes, still in Monarchs In Space Plan B set-up, children think that the caterpillars are in fact getting bigger. "A caterpillar frasses when it is eating and growing," Lucy explained. Many children observed the larger pieces of frass as well as a difference in the color of the frass; some was darker green, some was lighter green. It is a little bit easier to understand what is happening when leaves are actually disappearing from the rearing box. Kindergartners are in agreement that the "sick"caterpillars eating the milkweed leaves are growing. "There is only one small part of a leaf left in the box, " observed Noah, "the other ones have been eaten."