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Scientists Observe and Record

May 25, 2022 | Clara Buckley

As an urban school, Mustard Seed always looks to provide opportunities for exploring the natural environment, indoors and outdoors. We ask the children to be scientists, studying the natural world through observation and experiment. We delight in the wonders of God’s vast (and tiny) creation.

In the classroom we are watching the life cycle of a ladybug enfold before us and recording our observations. The ability of the larvae to climb was much commented upon and compared with our own climbing ability.

Evangeline: He has really strong feet that guy. One’s just sitting there on the top.

Amelia: We don’t have any claws. We have to cut our nails.

Evangeline: I can climb on the monkey bars with my feet.

On Monday the larvae were running all over the tank. Using permanent marker and watercolor paint, familiar to us from our Misty Copeland artwork, we drew and painted a larva we observed.

Claire: They can’t fall down, like suction cups

Emilia: They have sticky shoes

Joseph: He has sticky feet

Rebekah: One fell down and I didn’t even touch it

By Wednesday the insects were motionless, entering the pupa phase! This looked almost like they were dead, but really their bodies were changing. We documented this new stage through our drawings.

On returning to school from the weekend, there was movement in the tank! Adult ladybugs were emerging from their pupa.

Zeke: They changed!

Axel: They grew! Now some of them are ladybugs.

Students were excited to finally use the red watercolor paint they typically associate with the color of ladybugs. We observed antennae and learned ladybugs use their antennae to sense smell and touch. Did you know ladybugs also smell with their feet?!

We’ll continue our observations and compile our paintings in a book showing the life cycle of a ladybug. The children are beginning to think of a more permanent home for the ladybugs.

Wini: They live in nature

Amelia: Outside

Maddox: On a flower

Here are the New Jersey Preschool Science standards we touch on through this project.

Standard 5.1: Children develop inquiry skills.

Observe, question, predict, and investigate materials and phenomena during classroom activities and during any longer-term investigations in progress. Use basic science terms (e.g., observe, predict, experiment) and topic-related science vocabulary (larva, pupa, antennae, elytra, pronotum). Communicate with other children and adults to share observations, pursue questions, make predictions, and/or conclusions. Represent observations and work through drawing and “writing” 

Standard 5.3: Children observe and investigate living things.

Investigate and compare the basic physical characteristics of plants, humans, and other animals. Observe similarities and differences in the needs of living things, and differences between living and nonliving things. Observe and record change over time and cycles of change that affect living things.

Standard 5.5: Children gain experience in using technology.

Identify and use basic tools and technology to extend exploration in conjunction with science investigations (e.g., writing, drawing, and painting utensils, magnifiers).

Clara Buckley

Preschool Art Specialist; Middle School Art

Clara Buckley’s teaching spans the ages of Mustard Seed School, from the youngest students in the preschool to students in the graduating class. She’s found many similarities between teaching three-year-olds and thirteen-year-olds!

As an art teacher who never enjoyed drawing, Ms Buckley’s hope is that each child she teaches discovers a way to create art that they enjoy, whether it be sculpture, printing, textiles, architectural drawing, or collage.

Ms. Buckley loves living in Jersey City, a place whose diversity and welcome for immigrants reflects her own family experience. When planning future travel destinations, art, food, and time with family are featured items on her list.

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