Our Crawlers, Diggers, and Flyers expedition is all about the world of insects and their importance in our world. Our field work took us to M.S.U. to meet with entomologists at the “Bug House.” There we saw many insects and learned what made insects special. We also had a chance to see, touch, and hold a variety of bugs including beetles, hissing cockroaches, tarantulas, and scorpions. Our final product will be information cards about many of these insects that we will give to M.S.U. entomologists who have agreed to post them near each species.
Of course, we couldn’t have an expedition of insects without having insects in the classroom! Our kindergarten scientists have been thrilled to view a variety of insects encased in Lucite through the generosity of many made possible by a Donors Choose project. Now that the weather is warmer, we will be caring for and studying many live specimens, including ants, butterflies, and ladybugs.
In addition, students have been thrilled to observe the characteristics, habitat, and eating capabilities of two very special classroom pets. Meet Jake, the Madagascar hissing cockroach, and Roseanne, the Chilean rose hair tarantula.
We had quite the adventure when they were introduced to the kindergarten crews under the document camera. (A document camera is similar to an overhead projector. Think of cooking shows that have a mirror over the mixing bowls so you can see into them.) Mrs. Brophy, trying to be very brave, attempted to pick up Jake. Jake was not used to being held and decided to hiss through his spiracles (holes in the sides of his abdomen that make a hissing sound when air is pushed through them at a fast rate). This frightened Mrs. Brophy who dropped Jake on the document camera. Jake, sensing freedom, decided to scurry under the projector, down the side of the cart, and across the floor. Ms. Johnson very bravely scooped up Jake with a piece of paper and dumped him back into his enclosure. We quickly put on the lid to prevent another escape attempt. We decided to observe Roseanne in her box instead of risking another break for freedom from Mrs. Brophy’s hand!
Since then, we have been happy to observe them in their enclosures and not in our hands, although both creatures are known to be very docile and to make great pets. We are learning that being brave and having courage means trying things, even when we are afraid. Caring for these class pets means practicing our habits of character. It takes perseverance to be brave. It takes responsibility to care for our pets and cooperation when we need to take turns observing. It takes compassion to be kind, even when creatures seem ugly and unlovable. It takes curiosity to learn all we can, and creativity to share our knowledge with others. We can’t wait to share it with you!