Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Eat your heart out, Eric Carle!

There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly.
--Richard Buckminster Fuller

Well, we are doing a bang up job with this monarch fostering. We can almost see them growing right before our eyes. Each day, Aidan and I sit down with each of our four containers and make observations about what we see. I ask Aidan some questions about the caterpillars, like whether there is any difference in food consumption based on the size of the caterpillar or whether a bigger caterpillar poops more or less than a smaller one. Then, when he gathers his thoughts, he narrates back to me what I should record in our log. One fun aspect of this daily activity is the hands on measuring that Aidan has gotten to do. We take the caterpillars out of the container, in order to clean it, and while they are out, Aidan takes the opportunity to get out his ruler and, as accurately as possible, measure each one's length. We're not able to measure every single one, every day since some of them like to hang out on the side of the container and we don't like to disturb them. Plus, they are really hard to unstick, even if we wanted to. But, it's really exciting to be able to record their ridiculous growth.

Two wonderful bonuses from this experience (which was supposed to be merely for fun and enjoyment but has turned into so much more):
1) Aidan has learned, from having to measure accurately, how an inch is, most simply, divided into fourths. So, when something is two fourths, that is the same as one half.
2) By having to dictate to me what he wants me to write, he has to put his thoughts into complete sentences. In just one week of doing this, his "writing" skills have improved immensely.

This project has shown me that "science" doesn't have to be all big and complicated. Instead, it's actually the smaller, more intimate observations and discoveries that make a bigger impression and, magically, light the fire of curiosity even more.

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful caterpillar and a great quote, too! ~Suz.