Mrs. Rogers Kindergarten students adopted trees on the school campus to watch how the trees change over the course of the school year. They collected leaves and seeds to look at with magnifying glasses, and to do rubbings to add to their books about their tree. It seemed like a great opportunity to pull out one of our laptops, donated by MyWebGrocer, and the digital microscope to get an up close and magnified look at some of the features of the leaves. Did we ever get an eyeful!
Every leaf had bugs we could only see with the microscope. There were many tiny bugs on all the leaves, but on one leaf in particular we also saw a larger spiky black bug with a yellow stripe down its back. It looked like the larval stage of an insect to me, so after showing all the students the bug using the digital microscope (and taking a few pics), I set it aside.
Surprise! The next morning it had gone into a shiny orange pupa with black spots. The transformation was exciting! We could see the old black and yellow spiky skin crumpled up at one end of the pupa. The students were amazed at how different the bug looked and hypothesized about what kind of bug it would turn out to be (and we took more pics).
We only had to wait four days. Our mystery bug emerged in the middle of the night. And it was… a beautiful orange ladybug with two tiny black spots and a white face with a black “mask”.
What a wonderful, and serendipitous, introduction to life cycles, metamorphosis and symbiotic relationships for our kindergarten students!
STEAM Enrichment Instructor & Makerspace Director