"In this classroom, relationships are fostered, families are respected, and children are honored.
In this classroom, nature's gifts are valued and children's thoughts are captured.
In this classroom, learning is alive and aesthetic beauty is appreciated." -Unknown

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Ladybugs!! Keepin' It Real...


We're studying insects this month. This week our focus has been on ladybugs. We've been learning so much about this amazing and helpful insect and wanted to share some of our adventures.


We've used the GEMS: Ladybugs guide during our  study.
GEMS guides are amazing and worth checking out. 


We began by asking what the kiddos already knew about ladybugs. We wrote down whatever they said, even if we knew it was inaccurate. The goal was to check their current knowledge. We can modify the statements if it is determined that we need to make changes or deletions as we gain new knowledge.


I made a trip to OSH and picked up a container of LIVE ladybugs. I put them out in a variety of viewers. This provided for the kiddos to get an up-close and personal look at the insects. Whenever possible, it's best and more effective to teach children through hands-on experience. We wanted to make sure they could truly experience the ladybugs through close observation and touching.




Several viewers were displayed in both the science area and the writing area along with the ladybug cards. Several friends were inspired to write the word.


Some chose to observe and then drew images of the ladybugs, pretty accurately, at that.


One lesson was about the symmetry that ladybugs have. They have the same number of dots on each side of their cover wings. We explored this idea by pre-folding a paper, having the kiddos paint on it, press it closed, then open it back up. The results showed a mirror image on the unpainted side, as well as the original image.


We played Ladybug Dice Matching. Some children could look at the dice and know how many dots there were, others touched to count them. We also later discussed that not all of the ladybug images were correct, as they weren't symmetrical.


I had found a fingerplay about ladybugs. I modified it to be able to do it with props. We've done it a few times, then I placed it out for the kiddos to do it themselves, if they chose to do so. If you aren't able to read the post-it notes, here they are: 

Five little ladybugs climbing on some plants, eating the aphids, but not the ants.
The first one said, "Save some aphids for me!"
The second one said, "These are tasty as can be!"
The third one said, "Oh, they're almost gone."
The fourth one said, "Then it's time to move on."
The fifth one said, "Come on. Let's fly!"
So they opened their wings and they flew through the sky.




Several friends were inspired by our study to don ladybug apparel.



We had been learning about the anatomy of a ladybug: head, thorax, abdomen, six legs, antennae, flying wings, and cover wings. Each kiddo had the opportunity to express their new-found anatomy knowledge by assembling their own ladybug. We had also discussed the symmetry of the dots and encouraged them to show that on the ladybug's cover wings. This was not an art project, but a science lesson. Each child's ladybug was still uniquely different, but was a great opportunity to review what we had learned.



We did a drama about how the ladybug protects itself when birds swoop in for a snack and carried the drama outside. In the photo above, the ladybugs were busy crawling all around. 


The above image shows the friend on the right swooping in as a bird. Some "ladybugs" flew away while others laid on their backs and got really still so the bird wouldn't see them. They also learned that sometimes the ladybugs emit a stinky liquid from their legs that deters their enemies. 


After observing the ladybugs for two days, we trekked to the school's garden and released them. Some crawled around on hands for a bit, some crawled from the hands to plants, and some happily flew away.

We're learning so much...and keepin' it real. 







26 comments:

  1. I love the way you take your learning outside and apply it in nature.

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  2. I loved ladybugs when I was in school...we had lots of them! What a great little unit study:) I found you through the after-school link up:) I'm your newest follower!

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    1. Welcome, Dinah. Thanks so much for your feedback. Hearing from followers helps keep us bloggers motivated to continue sharing. Be sure to check out my Facebook page for the blog, as well. I post lots of photos on there that don't make it to the blog. You can find us at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/For-the-Children/170943436350531?ref=tn_tnmn

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  3. The weather warmed up here last week into the 40F's and little ladybugs started appearing on my windowsill. I love them - so beneficial and so pretty!

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    1. That is awesome and what a naturally occurring opportunity to investigate them!

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  4. That looks like a lot of fun! We're always on the hunt for ladybugs in our yard. They're one of our favorite bugs.

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    1. It's still a little early to see ladybugs in our yard, but the kids were so interested in insects we decided to do the study in March. Luckily, I was able to purchase our ladybugs from OSH, the local garden supply store. Thanks for the feedback!!

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  5. Love this! love these ideas! I found you through the hearts for home link up. I would love you to link this up at brightonparkblog.com at our tender moments with toddlers and preschoolers link up also (it will be shared across 4 blogs if you do!)

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    1. Katie, thanks so much for the invite. I just linked the post up and "liked" your Facebook page. Feel free to check out my Facebook page, as well. https://www.facebook.com/pages/For-the-Children/170943436350531

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  6. Love your ladybug observation area. And your daughters letters are so precious - love them!

    Thanks for linking up to TGIF! Hope to see you linked up again later today! Have a great weekend,
    Beth =-)

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    1. Thanks, Beth! I actually teach a preschool class with 21 students, but I do feel like they are my own kids. Proud of each and every one of them.

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  7. What a wonderful lesson!! I love using nature to inspire learning and we have a bit of a ladybug love since it is my daughter's symbol at school. Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!

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    1. Thanks so much, Carrie. I'm honored to be featured!! I'll be linking up again and again.

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  8. We have CLOUDS of ladybugs in our area, so we know all about them. :) You did a great job on teaching the children about them by making it fun. Thank you so much for sharing with Saturday Spotlight last week. I hope you come by today to share more of your awesome creations!

    http://angelshomestead.com/

    April

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    1. Thanks, April. We had so much fun and making it possible for the kids to truly observe the ladybugs really cemented the information they were learning. I just uploaded a link to an older post, but it's a fun one: Flower Petal Sun Catchers. Plan to keep sharing. Thanks for providing such a fun and inviting platform!

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  9. What a wonderful unit on Ladybugs. So many wonderful ideas and the GEM book series sound great. I have launched a new weekly nonfiction reading link party and would be great if you could share your post with us.
    http://honeybeebooksblog.blogspot.com.au/2013/03/keeping-it-real-new-nonfiction-weekly.html

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    1. Thanks, Melissa. I just linked up to your linky party. Thanks so much for the invite. I love picture books, but also have a passion for non-fiction and I think more kids are drawn to non-fiction than adults would think. They like fantasy ok, but really want to learn about stuff and how it works. I grabbed your button and have it on my blog now.

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  10. How amazing to get to view the ladybirds first hand.

    Thanks for linking to The Sunday Showcase.

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    1. Thanks for the feedback, Rebecca and for providing a forum to make it easier to share our ideas.

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  11. This is very timely for me - we're just about to learn about the letter L. Thanks for the great variety of ideas!

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    1. You're welcome, Anna. I'd love to see some of what you do for letter L. Feel free to post some of your adventures on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/For-the-Children/170943436350531?ref=hl

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  12. Great ideas! We love studying various insects. Thanks for sharing with us at Eco-Kids Tuesday! Hope to see you again tomorrow!

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    1. Thanks, Hannah! I'll definitely be posting again. Love seeing all the ideas there.

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  13. It is a very informative and useful post thanks it is good material to read this post increases my knowledge. Turramurra Childcare

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