Spring, and moving on towards summer

In my neck of the woods we are enjoying a consistently cool Spring with cherry blossoms and daffodils lasting longer than in most years. The sugar snap peas that the children planted in a large pot outside are about 7cm tall and while we’ve seen Cabbage White butterflies around, we haven’t found any eggs on the overwintered collard plants. 

Sugar snap peas are growing.Collards overwinter in the garden in some areas.  

  Here are a few spring science resources:

 Science Companion

Life Cycles Virtual Field Trip, “Butterflies: Larger Caterpillars” for all those Monarch butterfly watchers, and any class that is observing any butterfly or moth life cycle. Also see the science inquiry resource about Painted Lady caterpillar observation, to go with your larvae from the digital Teacher Lesson Manual on Painted Lady observation. Even if you prefer to find butterfly larvae on the larval food that you plant (collards and other broccolis family plants, and parsley, dill, and fennel for the Black Swallowtail……. 

Science NetLinks, a lesson plan on seed structure and sprouting  for preK-2.

And in print, read the National Gardening Association’s comprehensive gardening curriculum in, Garden Adventures: Exploring Plants with Young Children, by Sarah Pounders. She urges us to start small so initial enthusiasm is not exhausted before the plants mature. The first lesson is “What is a plant?”with a Plant Parts reproducible page of a pea plant.

What is your class up to? Take a look at these classes–one is following the life cycle of a chicken and another is beginning to clean up the garden to get ready for planting.

Peggy

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2 Comments

  1. Marie Faust Evitt
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    We’re enjoying a cool spring, also. We are so excited that two of the chicken eggs we incubated hatched. The children love holding the chicks very gently. It’s amazing how much the chicks grow day to day!

    We’ve also been observing the birds that frequent our school yard and took a fieldtrip to visit the San Francisco Baylands with docents from the Audubon Society. It was exciting to look through a bird scope to see numerous shore birds.

    Spring also means that our school mulberry tree is leafing out. So we brought out the silkworm eggs from last year that we’d saved in the refrigerator. The eggs hatched and the little silkworms are growing bigger by the day as they feast on the leaves. We’re hoping they will spin their silk cocoons and moths will emerge to lay eggs before the school year ends. It’s a great way to see the cycle of life in a short span of time.

  2. Peggy Ashbrook
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    I have never had silkworms in a classroom but if the eggs can be saved over the winter, why not? Mulberry trees are plentiful in my area. According to Sue Kayton, it may be too late to start the process for a school that ends in early June:
    Each stage of the silkworm cycle takes time...
    Eggs hatch in about 6-20 days.
    Caterpillars eat for about 26 days before spinning silk.
    It takes about 3 days to fully spin a cocoon and turn into a pupa.
    The moth emerges from the cocoon after about 21 days.
    The moth lays eggs about two days after emerging from the cocoon.

    I’d have to begin in early April, assuming the mulberry trees have leafed out by then, to have moths emerging by the end of school.
    It looks like some teachers use egg cartons as supports for the caterpillars and cocoons.
    Children express high interest in following the life cycle of animals and plants. I’ve heard about butterflies, moths, beetles, chickens, frogs, green peas and zinnia flowers–does anyone else raise something else?

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