Goodbye, caterpillars. Hello, butterflies!
The annual 5th grade butterfly release is the culmination of their study and observation of the life cycle of caterpillars and the surrounding environmental factors needed for them to complete a full metamorphosis.
Students began their observation of the tiny caterpillars on February 1 and ended with the butterflies emerging on from their chrysalises on February 20. After metamorphosis, the students released the 16 butterflies into the wild two days later.
As an extension of the lesson, as the Easter season approaches, the 5th grade classes compares the metamorphosis of the butterfly to the transfiguration of Jesus as he was resurrected and the transformation that takes place in within human hearts when we accept Christ. "...The old has passed away; behold the new has come." 2 Corinthians 5: 16-17.
In their third quarter Environments unit, our fifth graders study the world around us with a focus on the range of tolerance, optimum environments and the preferred environments various living organisms. In addition to caterpillars, the fifth graders study and observe the behaviors of meal worms, darkling beetles, brine shrimp, gold fish, and a variety of plants. They also dissect owl pellets to observe and investigate their prey.
As a continuation of their Environments unit, the fifth graders plant a Spring garden in late March, again focusing on the “new life” within each seed that is planted and learning what factors are needed for optimum growth.