Sunday, April 20, 2014

Insects - A Kindergarten Homeschooling Science Plan

We started in the fall working on kindergarten science activities from the MythBusters Science Fair Books.   They were fantastic for monthly lessons of blowing stuff up, which happens to be what boys love.  Right now we're working our way through 4 months of Lego Simple Machines as our monthly science activity with our group.  

Since we tend to love gardening and plants with our large backyard garden we invested in about 4500 ladybugs to release last summer.  It seemed only natural that this spring we watch how ladybugs grow through their life cycle.  I hopped on to find some ladybug grub and I was not disappointed.  We already had a ladybug land from last year and a refill of grub was a perfect solution.  I love that they offer the "refill".  Perhaps this will be a yearly activity for us from here on out.  Of course, my eye was also caught by other insects as I was searching the site for more learning experiences.  Our shopping cart ended up containing ladybug grub, caterpillars and a butterfly garden, millworms and a praying mantis egg sack.  This year we are trying again with a praying mantis egg sac (last year we ordered one but it didn't hatch).  In fact, last year we had a most awful time with a different insect company and won't ever use them again, oiy!  Millworms are an interesting addition to our insect collection, particularly since there are chickens around that would benefit from such a tasty snack. Caterpillars was a no-brainer since they are so common. 
So, our homeschool science curriculum for Kindergarten has turned into watching insects on our piano and drawing/taking notes as often as there is anything noteworthy going on (I often scribe notes CJ dictates). It's an experience that's educational to both myself and both boys and it's taken about zero planning time and hardly any time day to day. That's my favorite type of curriculum :).
Having never raised insects through their life cycles I have honestly had moments of, "Oh no! I killed them!" before I realized they were just growing into their pupa stage.  Silly me.  It was very exciting to watch the caterpillars climb to the top to hand upside down like the letter J.  It amazed us that they were there in the morning and still looked just like caterpillars in the afternoon.  Somehow we thought that process would be much faster.  We had to run to the store and left for an hour or so in the evening and came back to the second picture of the caterpillars now mostly in their chrysalis.  It was really cool!  We've been reading a number of books about the insects as we watch them grow.

It is really hard to get pictures of the ladybugs.  I mean - REALLY hard.  They are itty bitty and trying to get a focus on them is just not happening, but trust us that it's really cool.

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