Bugs Living Things Science Teaching Themes

Learning about Monarch Caterpillars

This term I decided to be naughty and squeeze in my very own unit about bugs and insects for our final term in Prep. Our old preschool system was very inquiry/play based but now that our curriculum is all mandated, the kiddies miss out on all that fun stuff that just arises throughout the year.
My kiddies have always been interested in bugs so it was a unit that was both relevant and interesting to them! Last weekend, my lovely Nana was in her garden and came across some Monarch caterpillars. She collected them for me but by the time I went to visit, two had already made their cocoons! I decided to take 1 cocoon and a couple of caterpillars to show the kids. Every couple of days, I go back to Nana’s and she has more fresh weed for me to feed them.
On Monday, I took our new pets into the classroom and we spoke about how we could find out what they were. I got a book about butterflies and caterpillars and we searched for photographs that matched our insects. We also watched some clips on youtube showing how much they change throughout their entire life cyle. A few kiddies went onto the oval to collect a nice strong branch for the caterpillars to make their cocoons on when they were ready.
Β We observed them all week, and on Thursday morning, our biggest caterpillar was hanging upside down ready to begin! We had seen the caterpillars do this on youtube so I knew he was close to making his cocoon. I was very excited that the kids would be able to watch him making his transformation.
I assumed the process would take a while and went up to the office to check my pigeon hole. When I got back, he was done! He was still spinning around in there though, so I opened my doors early and let the kids in. They were so incredibly excited – it was so cute to watch! The kiddies sat and watched his final stages of cocoon making for almost an hour. When the parents came to collect them in the afternoon, they were all dragged over to the table to check out the latest advances!
We are now waiting for our next few caterpillars to grow big enough and I have my fingers crossed that they will make their cocoons this week – our last week of school! Hopefully one of our butterflies will emerge too – it’s all very exciting in my room this week!
Here’s a quick video I managed to capture at the final stages of his cocoon making process!! It just shows him wriggling around and spinning backwards and forwards. The kids have anxiously been waiting to see this clip – can’t wait to show them on Monday morning.

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  • I've taught insects to my Year 2s the past 3 years and they LOVE it too! What a special experience for your little ones, I'm sure they'll remember it for a very long time!

    Kylie
    Down Under Teacher