Saturday, March 13, 2010

March 4 2010 A Final Good-bye

Our kindergartners said goodbye to our last 3 Monarchs In Space butterflies this morning. Their bodies were found lifeless, in nectaring position, on damp Gatorade-soaked pompoms.

These last 3 butterflies were gently placed in the frame with our STS-129 mission patch and the bodies of the other 9 butterflies.

In time, we will talk about the possibility of burying all 12 butterflies in our certified Monarch Waystation. For now, though, we are choosing to honor and remember them under glass, framed with the STS-129 Mission crew patch and the story of our Monarchs In Space project.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

February 21, 2010 Day 98 Happy Day 100!

Today Endeavor and the crew of the STS-130 mission return to earth; in the cargo hold of the space shuttle, there is a small rearing chamber with the bodies of the 3 monarchs who lived out their lives aboard the International Space Station.

In our classroom, 4 out of our 12 butterflies are still living, feeding on Gatorade-soaked pompoms, stirring curiosity among our kindergartners. Though their scales have lost their colors and the edges of their wings are tattered, they are loved by us all.

Today we mark the 100th day of life of our monarchs across 4 stages of a complete metamorphosis!

Monday, February 15, 2010

February 16 Day 94 Catching up!

Last week, space shuttle Endeavor lifted off in a brilliant display of light against the dark, night sky.

While Endeavor has returned to the the space station, carrying Mission STS-130 specialists
who will retrieve the bodies of the Monarchs in Space and bring them home to planet earth, 5 remaining butterflies are still enjoying the company of our kindergartners and nectaring on Gatorade-soaked pompoms.

These remaining 5 butterflies are remarkably old but are still feeding and crawling around in the terrarium. The butterflies have been feeding only on the trays at the bottom of the terrarium so we've removed the one hanging from the ceiling. They have been showing this preference for more than two months and have learned how to find the feeding trays independently.

Their wings are quite tattered and faded now. Though still recognizable as Monarchs, their wingspan is remarkably changed due to the tattered, broken wings. One butterfly in particular still feeds normally but has a diminished wingspan rivaling that of the cabbage white butterfly.

From the day the butterflies emerged from the chrysalis (12/12/09), the butterflies have lived 65 days as winged creatures. If you count the total amount of time these delicate insects have been alive and include the egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, and butterfly stages, they have been living for 95+ days.

I am incredulous over their longevity!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

February 2, 2010 Day 80 Sweet dreams...

While their companions fed on Gatorade soaked pompoms today, two butterflies fluttered their last and died.

As butterflies, they lived 51 days.

As living creatures, egg to butterfly, their lives spanned nearly 3 months, approximately 90 days.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

January 24, 2009 Day 71 Reverent curiosity

Our Monarchs in Space butterflies continue living in our screened terrarium where they feed on Gatorade-soaked pompoms. The terrarium is misted daily with water.

Three butterflies have died and are pressed under glass. Nine are living. The brightly-colored orange wings of our living butterflies are faded now and a few wing tips have been chipped.

Every day the children stop by the terrarium to visit the butterflies.

The most recent death of one butterfly drew hushed voices and gentle acknowledgments from the children. Living in the present moment as children do, they were curious about the butterfly's lifeless body, how its wings were folded and the legs drawn close to its body. All children wanted to view the dead butterfly before it was placed under glass.

A child's reverent curiosity is truly something special.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

January 10, 2010 Day 57 Happy Day of Wings, butterflies!

Today marks the 31st day of our butterflies in their butterfly life stage...Happy Day of Wings, butterflies!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

January 6, 2010 Day 53 Gatorade Pompoms, Take two!

Kindergartners helped prepare fresh, brightly-colored pompoms with Gatorade for the butterflies this morning and placed the pompoms on a tray at the bottom of the terrarium as well as on the one suspended at the top. Monarchs were hand-placed on the pompoms to feed.

Several kindergartners asked to hold the butterflies after the butterflies had been offered their breakfast. One friend made a sign cautioning visitors to our classroom :" Watch where you're stepping! Our butterflies may be out!"
With the doors to our classroom safely closed, a few butterflies exercised their wings in the classroom. The butterflies perched in interesting places! Letter A...the cardboard satellite hanging over our pretend play space station...a photo of a sunflower....

Two butterflies played hide and seek with us for a few minutes before we found them and returned them to the safety of their terrarium. "I wish I could spend all day long holding the butterflies," whispered a kindergartner. "Yeah, me too!" another echoed.