May 05, 2008

Our Butterfly Unit

Last week we finished a unit on butterflies. Because we have terrible Spring Fever, we did it slowly and spent a lot of time outside looking for butterflies! We based the unit on this lapbook and added some books to go along with it.

So what did we do? We did several of the componenets of the lapbook, like I said. With those and books, we learned about caterpillars, the life cycle, the difference between moths and butterflies, what preys on butterflies and how they defend themselves, and how to attract them. The one thing that was not part of the lapbook, but fit in perfectly was a lesson on symmetry. Jacob colored a butterfly symmetrically and then we folded some laundry using this concept too! (Actually it was a great way to teach him how to fold pants!)

Jacob's symmetrical butterfly he named "Buttercup" (plus a little washout from a drop or two of water)

The most fun thing we did during this unit was plant flowers in our front yard! Jacob made a little book on the flowers that attract butterflies. We took that book to the local greenhouse, found the owner. Jacob showed her his book and asked her if she had any of those flowers or others that might attract butterflies. She was very helpful! She only had a couple of the flowers in the book, but she had other replacement suggestions. Here is some of what we planted:

Beautiful snapdragons!

These flowers are called Gazanias. Aren't they beautiful? These are by far my favorites that we planted. They close up each day and just have a unique look about them.

All I remember of this one is "castle mix." Not sure if there are more words to it's name or not!

These three (the top two are the same mix) are nameless for now. I don't remember what they are and don't have time to find them! (Feel free to let me know if you know their names.)

A few shots from our planting day

Mattie loving a worm she found (Poor worm got carried around for more than 15 minutes! And that's peanut butter cracker on her dirty face, not dirt like the other day.)

Jacob helping plant our flowers

Mattie helping plant

We had Will over the day we planted, and he helped Grandmama a bit!

And of course, the kids were extra aware of caterpillars this week! We have several tents of Eastern Tent Moth caterpillars in trees on our property, so the kids have found quite a few. We have three at this point. They are eating, eating, eating, and pooping. (Caterpillars poop a lot more than I realized!!) Jacob was bummed that these were moth caterpillars, but then we spent a day learning about moths. They have a few pretty cool characteristics, so then it wasn't so bad. I haven't had the heart to tell him this wasn't one of those cool ones... But we'll see if we can keep them alive through metamorphosis. Right now we're just getting fresh leaves every day for them and have them housed in our butterfly house. We'll see what happens!

This was our first experience with lapbooking, which I suppose we did not technically do. (Jacob completed many of the pieces of it, but they will just go in his notebook like everything else we've done.) It definitely won't go down as our favorite unit yet. The lapbooking components were kind of fun individually, but it was a lot of stuff "to do" for us that wasn't needed to retain/learn the information. The books were more than enough for that. That said, there were a few components that I would not have chosen otherwise, but proved to be very good. This was our first experience with a Venn diagram that I wouldn't have done otherwise, I don't think, but really provided Jacob a great visual for comparing/contrasting the moths and caterpillars. But overall with Jacob, who does not enjoy cutting/pasting, the lapbook was just busy work. So, how's that for a wishy washy review? We'll give it another try I'm sure, but probably not anytime soon. I definitely see how these would be a great learning tool for some children, though! Actually, I fully expect Mattie to love them when she's older!


Linda said...

Sounds like a fun unit! I was feeling a little sorry for the earthworm, and am glad to know that Mattie hadn't developed a liking for dirt! The "Castle Mix" is dianthus, a relative of carnations, and likes cooler weather, but if you cut them back when they seem to be spent, they'll come back and bloom again. The orange plumey thing is celosia, and my book says it likes hot weather, so it should do well! I love the gazanias as well, but haven't tried them yet. Maybe this summer??? So many flowers, so little energy to plant. I've bought some summer blooming bulbs that I need to get in the ground this week!


Kjirstin C said...

So pretty! Sounds like a lot of fun :) I love the picture of Mattie with the worm :)