Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. -Yeats


















 This morning we were greeted by several surprising developments in our Monarch caterpillar terrariums. (Each day we observe the changes by viewing the terrariums, using the phone to magnify live images and reviewing photos via Chromecast onto to the TV monitor.) #1 caterpillar who had placed himself in a J-hook position on the roof of our terrarium last Friday (after days of voracious eating) had magically turned into a beautiful jewel toned green chrysalis. Caterpillars #2 and #3 had attached themselves in the distinct J-hook position on the ceilings of the terrariums. Smaller caterpillar #4, whom we had just about given up on after it had refused to eat for two days, but miraculously got coaxed back into eating last Thursday, was thriving and had grown considerably over the weekend. Estimated size is now1.5 to 2 inches in length. It continues to feed vigorously. Tiny caterpillar #5 had eaten significantly over the weekend and now measures about 1/4th inch. Caterpillar #6, our first "birth" emerged from an egg on Friday afternoon. It fed all weekend and now measure about 1/2cm. Since so much had gone on in our classroom environment, we decided it would be worth another visit to the MB Botanical Gardens to see how the caterpillars there were fairing in the wild, especially in light of the recent extreme weather conditions. We were particularly interested in looking for chrysalis' in the natural environment since we had successfully produced one in the classroom. We ventured to the gardens and found many caterpillars, as before, in various stages of development. With eyes now keen on what we were looking for we quickly spotted unhatched eggs, as well. However, despite significant effort searching the milkweed, we could not find a single chrysalis. Theories to explain the absence included: 1) caterpillars reconverting out of the chrysalis back to the caterpillar stage due to less than optimal weather conditions, 2) MB Botanic Garden personnel removing the chrysalis' in order to protect and hatch them elsewhere 3) rain, wind and hail knocking the chrysalis' to the ground, although we could find no evidence of this. We're about to give up when Adam mentioned that he had noticed that the one chrysalis and two caterpillars in J hook position, in our classroom, had not actually attached to the milkweed in the terrarium but had instead removed themselves and attached on the rigid lids instead. He wondered if perhaps we were looking in the wrong place and should be looking away from the milkweed. With this new possibility our focus changed from where we had been looking. Adam found the first beauty tucked away in the safety of a rock. This discovery led us to search differently and we soon discovered 4 or 5 more chrysalis', in various stages, on sturdier plants, the backs of signs and the nearby shed. We also encountered empty cases and one caterpillar who had attached itself to a sturdy branch, but for some reason had not converted to a chrysalis. Instead it remained hanging limply, it's journey prematurely ended. Several nights ago, for Home Learning, the Investigators made a list of questions that they wanted to know about the life cycle of the Monarch butterfly. We have started an observation log and have decided that we want to be scientists and answer some of our own questions with first hand observation, theorizing and data collection. While we recognize that some of our questions may not be able to be answered without additional research, we are willing to wait. We have agreed to not read any fact books or watch any documentaries until we can no longer answer our questions through the information in front of us. We are very excited!
Arrival and Visiting Morning Start Up Sharing Appreciations, Short Topics Centers Snack and Break Center Logs Math Project Work Lunch Clean Up Journaling Partner Reading Book Making Word Work Dismissal

Becoming a Naturalist

Creating a Culture of Thinking

in the Middle Elementary Classroom

Sample Plan for the Day: