Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Emergent Curriculum Bugs Us

After a few weeks of “ordinary moments” (the name given to the provocative and engaging activities set up for the children while the next emergent topic is being cultivated) we have our direction.

Last week one of my students brought a ladybug farm to class to share with us.  We were all captivated by it as it held a few eggs, some in their larvae state and many fully formed adult lady bugs.  The children had many stories to share and questions to ask about lady bugs.  Luckily we had several books as part of our school library, so I was able to pull them out and read a few to them that day.
Sadly, the owner of the habitat really wanted to keep her lady bugs at home, so we only had the one day with them.  But, the next day the children were still talking about them.  This led to other discussions of insects and spiders.  Another one of our classmates had recently been bitten by a tick and had to get it removed at the pediatrician’s office.  He described it in great detail including the special blood sac the tick has.  Again, the class was super interested and the questions (and many reports of expertise and great knowledge) poured from the children. 

You know it is almost the end of the year in a fully emergent classroom when before I knew it one of my little boys said, “I want us to get books about this and learn about it.”  Really, he did. 
And so, for the next few weeks, the precious last few weeks I have with this amazing class, the project approach will have us invested in studying insects and spiders to get answers to our questions.

I have begun the brainstorming process for ways we can learn about insects with our play.  We have been busy hunting for them outside.  So far, we have only found a grub and a few small worms (which we have already learned is NOT an insect).  We have some caterpillars on the way.  I know I can buy crickets to observe and then feed them to our lizard.  I am trying to figure out how to get some water bugs (a special request from another one of my boys) and how to borrow a tarantula. Two things I could never imagine doing.  This is why this type of teaching is quite invigorating, it keeps my creative and problem solving abilities in motion.

Hopefully this warm weather will bring on the bugs!  For once, I am looking forward to that.

If you know of any resources that would be helpful with this project, please let me know.


  1. Bugs are so much fun! We had a great couple of months of butterfly and caterpillar study last year. If you search my blog for either of those terms you will get a TON of activities, food ideas, etc. We found our monarch butterfly eggs on milkweed after we tried the painted ladies that we ordered. The monarchs were so much better! The caterpillars you order in the mail are not as realistic/natural to observe. (they eat brown goo that looks like their poop instead of leaves.... I wrote about that too.) I've also heard that getting meal worms and watching them grow is really cool. (We haven't tried that yet). Folkmanis makes some great bug puppets, and there are some great glasses out there for bug eyes! Good luck with your adventures :).

  2. Your tick kiddo has some new insects to add to the list...FL fire ants and mosquitoes. We've meandered through mangroves and have been swimming with the fishes. Going to be lots of sharing and useful information upon our return!!

  3. Thank you Child Central Station! I checked out your blog and links. Going to get one of the books mentioned today. Love your spider web idea. We've made them with yarn in the past, but yours is much better! The buzzers look fun as well.

  4. At Saint Anthony School,San Jose,Costa Rica,... where I teach Science to 200 kids,we have a very small butterfly garden,a lombricompost,classify trash,keep bird feeders,study ponds(so they did one on a small swimming pool)...I wish every preschool could have butterflies, it´s easy, and they love every step. Laura Oreamuno.