Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Butterflies - Excitement, Empathy and Drama


 Animal Life Cycles Grade 3 Science

As part of the Grade 3 science unit, Animal Life Cycles, students are to observe and describe the growth and development of at least one living animal, as the animal develops from early to more advanced stages.  This is the story of how one class used a forum to record observations and share experiences. 




Last spring my grade three students were very engaged in our butterfly project. 

There was drama, empathy and excitement as students shared their experiences and recorded the development of their butterfly larvae on our class forum.  

Each student received three Painted Lady Butterfly larvae and were required to journal their observations on a forum. Students recorded their observations, responded to each other and shared pictures as the larvae developed. 

Here are some of the excerpts from our butterfly forum on 123 LearnNet. You will get a sense of the connection and learning that happened.

This is Hawk's post telling about the day his butterflies emerged from the chrysalis.



Here is Eva's hopeful post:


And Hawk's encouragement:


In the end things took a surprise turn for Hawk. This was an email I received: 

"It was an emotional release of the flying beauties. 2 flew away into the blue while one only had moments of freedom before it was a blue jays lunch .So sad but that's a butterfly s life. We have enjoyed this experience so much that we plan on raising more butterfly s in the future. Thank you for this project." 

And Eva's butterfly did finally emerge and fly away.  However the thought of a hungry Blue Jay was not far from her mind. 




The following Google presentation shows the development of one student's butterfly larva through each stage to the day he released them.  Take note of the last two slides they are delightful!  




This particular forum was on 'Moodle',  the LMS (Learning Management System)  we use to deliver online courses at our school.  

If I were to do this activity in a classroom setting, I might consider sending the larvae home with the students.  This would give them incentive to record and share their individual observations on a class blog or through a Google Presentation.