This week, we learned all about bugs and pond life as part of our unit on Spring. This is such a fun unit to teach~there are so many great books, songs and activities to do with the unit. One of the hardest things is figuring out which great ideas to use. There are so many and there just isn't time to do them all!
This week, I set out a variety of art materials and asked my friends to make a bug using whatever materials they chose. I expected the friends to use the pipe cleaners as one material, but many made bug sculptures made solely from the pipe cleaners. Coffee filters and tissue paper were particularly popular, as well.
A dragonfly and a butterfly
Coffee filter and pipe cleaner butterfly
The ever popular tissue paper butterflies
I have this really cool book, "Learn to Draw DoodleBugs" that has a little story and step by step diagrams of how to draw each bug. Each morning, I posted the steps on one of our whiteboards. Yesterday afternoon, we bound each child's bug drawings in a little book for them to take home.
Buzzy Doodle bumblebee
Anty Doodle ant
Zoom Doodle dragonfly
Leggy Doodle spider
Flutter Doodle butterfly
Our name caterpillars turned out really cute, I think, and were great for learning left to right patterns of writing, learning the letters of our names and fine motor practice. I laid out different sized plastic lids for the friends to trace around and cut out. Once cut, the friends put one letter of their name on each circle to form the name caterpillar.
As we studied life cycles, we made paper plate representations of the life cycle of a caterpillar in small groups. Some of the groups used art materials and others used pasta. I'm not sure which ones I like better!
Late this fall, some of my students found a cocoon on our playground. After some research, we discovered that some species "overwinter", which means thay are in the cocoon state for an extended period of time. We are waiting and watching to see if anything will come out. About 2 weeks ago, the friends found another cocoon, so weadded that to our butterfly pavilion as well. As I was trying to take a picture, I took the cocoon out to get a better shot. It was rocking a little on the paper I used as a background. I figured it was probably due to the uneven stem, but as I held it in my hand, I could fell lots of movement in the cocoon. I have to say it really freaked me out for just a minute! I hope this means we'll have transformation soon!
We also learned about the cocoon,chrysalis and pupa debate. I've done a little research and will be writing a post soon about this.
We read some fantastic books with this unit. Here are a few of our favorites:
We sang lots of songs~there are so many good children's songs like the "Eensy Weensy Spider", "I'm Bringing Home A Baby Bumblebee" that are traditionally sung in preschools everywhere. As an added bonus, I received Deborah Stewart's new CD, "Simple Songs for Preschool" in the mail this week. I was thrilled to discover "There's an Ant" on the CD. It became an instant favorite. Check it out:
I highly recommend the CD. The songs are simple, easy to sing and just downright fun. My students love them! You can check out "Simple Songs for Preschool" and order from the "Little Fingers That Play" site.
I'd love to hear what you are doing in your bug unit!