With the onset of Spring, our class is taking a more in-depth look at life sciences through both a “Frog and Pond Life” unit as well as a “Bug and Insect” unit. This past week, as we began our Frog unit, we welcomed two bullfrog tadpoles, Swimmy and Tiny, into our classroom. These tadpoles became a catalyst for our learning. As we took a closer look at our new class pets, we noticed Swimmy was beginning to grow back legs. This began our discussion of the transformation tadpoles go through. Transformation discussions fed into talk about the life cycle of frogs. We read books about the life cycle, sequenced pictures of the life cycle, and even created art to add to our pond mural representing the stages of the life cycle. While talking about a frog’s life, we also discussed the similarities and differences of the habitat during different stages. Some of the needs remain the same throughout a frog’s life, and others do not.
The children also really enjoyed making observations about Swimmy and Tiny. Upon seeing this, we began talking about how an artist could draw these observations for others to see. During several journal times, we created our very own observational drawings of the tadpoles. We talked about drawing their habitat, their bodies, and adding details. Many children attempted writing “tadpoles” above their pictures so that others would know what they drew. This was a fabulous opportunity to strength representational drawing skills for future activities such as illustrating books or writing in journals. If you’d like to extend this activity at home, try helping your child to notice the details in things. Games like “I Spy” are great for this!
Continuing on with our study of life sciences, we are now beginning our unit on Bugs and Insects. We will delve into this topic with the help of beloved children’s author Eric Carle. We will be reading his classics: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Very Lonely Firefly, The Very Quiet Cricket, The Very Busy Spider, and The Very Clumsy Click Beetle. Books are a perfect avenue to introduce new information to the children in a fun format. Throughout the week, we will extend these books by creating many bug-inspired art projects, putting on a play, and even creating our very own Eric Carle-style class book about a bug! Meanwhile, we will also continue on in our observational drawing techniques and life cycle discussions throughout the week. We will be adding crickets and meal worms to our list of class pets and even borrowing a tarantula for a few days. As we go on nature walks and hunt for insects, we may even find some other types of bugs to study! If you’d like to extend our learning at home, feel free to help your child catch some bugs of their own and make some observations. They can even bring them in to show the class (in a closed container, please). Also, you might try getting some Eric Carle and/or insect books from the library to read at home with your child at bedtime.