Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bb Butterfly

Today we finished our Bb Butterfly unit.

This week we focused on the butterfly life cycle, but we also picked up some other interesting facts along the way! We learned that a Monarch butterfly lays its eggs on milkweed plants because that's the only thing its larvae will eat. We also learned that butterflies have tiny scales all over their wings. If you've ever picked up a moth or a butterfly and noticed a powdery residue on your hands, it's because you've rubbed off some of its scales. Finally, we learned that there are several ways to tell the difference between a butterfly and a moth: Butterflies are typically diurnal, but moths are typically nocturnal; butterflies typically rest with their wings up above their bodies, but moths typically rest with their wings spread out flat; and butterfly antennae usually have little knobs at the ends, but moth antennae are usually feathery in appearance.

We made a model of each phase of a butterfly's life cycle.

Stage 1—Egg

Stage 2—Caterpillar

Stage 3—Pupa

Stage 4—Butterfly

We read several fun books this week. Our favorites were Velma Gratch & the Way Cool Butterfly, Chickens Aren't the Only Ones, and Fancy Nancy: Bonjour, Butterfly! We also read The Very Hungry Caterpillar and played The Very Hungry Caterpillar card game Hannah got for Christmas to help reinforce learning the days of the week.

Our special words for the week were "God can make me new."

We looked at several verses about being a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) and putting off our old self (Ephesians 4:22-24, Colossians 3:9-12). Boy, did that take some explaining! For those of you who don't know her, Hannah is my bug-loving child. She could not understand how a butterfly could possibly be better than a caterpillar, so the whole comparison didn't make much sense to her at all. We ended up ditching the butterfly analogy and just looking at the verses by themselves, and it finally made sense to her.

We are anxious to get our hands on our caterpillars so we can see the life cycle take place right before our eyes!

*****UPDATED ON 5/27/2009*****

Simply amazing! We just completed the butterfly habitat phase of the Bb Butterfly unit. We loved the unit before, but this took it to a whole new level! Here's a photographic timeline of our journey to Painted Lady butterflies!

Saturday, May 9—Opened our mailbox and found our caterpillars!

Thursday, May 14—It's amazing how much these little guys have grown! Four of them have now crawled up to the top of the container and curled their bodies into a "J" shape. The other one is still eating, eating, eating.

Sunday, May 17—We now have five chrysalides! All five have safely been moved into the butterfly habitat. Their skin looks very hard and has an almost iridescent quality to it. I always thought they were wrapped in silk, which would be a cocoon; however, their skin actually hardens to form their protective coating, which is why they are chrysalides.

Tuesday, May 19—So strange! You'll just be sitting there watching, and all of the sudden you'll see a chrysalis start to shake!

Thursday, May 21—Our first butterfly emerged! I missed this one, but I am determined to see one of these little guys come out!

Look at his beautiful bright orange wings!

Sunday, May 24—We now have four butterflies, and I have yet to see one of them emerge from its chrysalis. I have a camera and a video camera next to the habitat so I'll be ready to record it when I see movement!

Monday, May 25—Butterfly #5 emerged, and it looks like I just missed it! The red stuff on the paper towel is not blood; it's waste from the butterfly's time in its chrysalis. This little guy's wings aren't very strong yet. It takes a while for the body fluid to work its way into all the veins in the wings, then he'll have to wait for his wings to dry before he can fly.

Wednesday, May 25—It's been incredible to watch this whole process so closely, but it's time to say "goodbye." Daddy helps Hannah and Millie release our butterflies.

Such a great reminder of the freedom we have in Christ when we are made new!

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