Thursday, 3 May 2012

five very hungry caterpillars

We are growing butterflies in our class.  They came in the post if you can believe it!  Well, the butterflies didn’t come in the post of course; it was five tiny caterpillars that did.  And we are going to keep a very careful observing eye on them during the course of the next couple of weeks.

On the first day that we observed them with our magnifying glasses, they were quite active, moving about in their container, some even venturing as far as the lid. 

IMG_6571     IMG_6580     IMG_6574

We noticed that they were quite fluffy and that they had spikes on their backs. 


They were surrounding themselves with a white web, just like a spider’s web. 


They do this to protect themselves from predators.  Not of course that there are any predators in the safety of their container in the classroom classroom.  But they were not to know that.

Even by day two, things had changed.  We all noticed (and recorded) that they had grown a bit.

IMG_6575  IMG_6581  tuesday

Nicholas spotted something amazing on Wednesday.  At first I’m afraid I didn’t quite believe it!

But then I put on my glasses and peered closer.


Do you see what Nicholas (and then I) saw?  The caterpillar is starting to shed its skin.  Part of the old skin that the caterpillar has grown out of (just like you have grown out of, and can no longer fit into last year’s pyjamas; or, sadly, just like me and my bikini!) has popped off.  The rest will come off later, so keep your observing eyes open and your sketching pencils at the ready!

Look; do you see this one’s fat tummy? 


He too looks almost ready to burst, doesn’t he. 

As we did on both Monday and Tuesday, on Wednesday we sketched and wrote about what we had observed.

IMG_6576   IMG_6578   IMG_6579

Afterwards, Melchior asked me a question – but I’m afraid I didn’t tell him the answer.  He asked, ‘When the butterflies grow, will they be the same colour as the caterpillars?’

He knows of course the reason that I didn’t give him an answer.

‘We will just have to wait and then we’ll see,’ he said.

Fingers crossed.

PS With caterpillars firmly on the brain, it is perhaps not surprising that so many of us, when asked what it was, thought that this (another photo from that walk)…..


was a picture of four very hungry caterpillars climbing up a blade of grass.

It isn’t, of course (it’s the flower of a special type of grass); but you can see why so many of us were tricked into thinking it was.

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