June 1, 2022 | Kristen Jordan
After weeks of anticipation, as you probably heard last week, the mysterious insects in our classroom finally “appeared” as ladybugs. This morning, we released them into the wilds of Hoboken (AKA the garden in between our school building and Our Lady of Grace church.) It was with great joy that the children watched the ladybugs fly off into the flowers and hope that they would soon be enjoying a delicious meal of aphids!
Father Alex Santora, from Our Lady of Grace graciously welcomed the children and joined us for the ladybug launch, offering that he thought it was a sign of hope that he happened upon us last week as we looked for a good place to let the ladybugs go.
Father Santora also offered a special gift to us as he cut some roses from the bushes where we released the ladybugs. The roses are making our classroom look and smell beautiful!
Since receiving the creatures a few weeks ago, there has been a great deal of observing and learning happening in the Rivers Class. When they arrived, the children did not know what they were and many guesses were put forth: roly-poly bugs, worms, baby bees. Not knowing what they were helped children to look carefully and consider possibilities.
There were many elements of inquiry-based learning that happened through this short study of ladybugs:
“Through the process of inquiry, individuals construct much of their understanding of the natural and human-designed worlds. Inquiry implies a “need or want to know” premise. Inquiry is not so much seeking the right answer — because often there is none — but rather seeking appropriate resolutions to questions and issues. For educators, inquiry implies emphasis on the development of inquiry skills and the nurturing of inquiring attitudes or habits of mind that will enable individuals to continue the quest for knowledge throughout life.” fromhttps://www.thirteen.org/edonline/concept2class/inquiry/index.html
As children looked carefully, asked questions, developed theories and wondered about these creatures, they were engaging in thinking and discovery. After doing research by reading some books, observing, and having discussions, the children learned that insects have 6 legs. As they observed and counted, they found that so did the creatures in our jar! Their research resulted in more informed hypotheses, based on new knowledge, about what these creatures were. Our previous study of spiders helped children know that these were not spiders, so they were building on and comparing what they were learning to knowledge gained earlier. These were definitely NOT spiders, but were definitely some type of insect.
After continued observations, the children saw that something had changed about these critters. Then a few days after that, ladybugs were suddenly in the container! Throughout this process children have been learning new facts and new vocabulary words, both of which build children’s knowledge base: More research and discussion helped the children to know that the ladybugs had gone through metamorphosis–many of them know about this type of change because of experiences with the life cycle of butterflies. We discussed how insects grow from an egg, to a larva, to a pupa and then hatch out as an adult ladybug, which is so different from how children grow!
These preschool scientists have gained other knowledge about ladybugs during our study as well, including the body parts (head, thorax and abdomen), how their wings work (including the elytra, the outer hard, wings), and they have found out that ladybugs are not bugs at all but beetles!
Along the way, children have drawn and printed ladybugs as they learn about them!
But mostly, the children have simply delighted in these well-loved creatures!