Friday, June 27, 2014

Complete and incomplete metamorphosis project!

Before we gets started talking about our new science projects I need to go back to last month and tell you all about our last project for our flying animals curriculum. The girls were learning about complete metamorphosis and incomplete metamorphosis. So I being the slightly nutty mother that I am decided to do a hands on project to show the children the differences in real life.

Can I just add here that you can get ANYTHING from amazon these days? We started with the complete metamorphosis......butterflies! Big, big, big hit with the girls. We ordered a Live Butterfly kit that came with 6 painted lady larva.

They were a bit shell shocked when they got here but they quickly adjusted and started growing into big fat caterpillars.
It didn't take long for them to transition into their chrysalis and start the metamorphosis process. We had 2 of the caterpillars die before making the transition however. Not sure what went wrong there. They went into the "J" shape but never formed their chrysalis.

 Once the ones that made it were all in their chrysalis we moved them to their netted habitat and began waiting patiently for butterflies to emerge. We were not disappointed. Out of the 4 that went into chrysalis all 4 emerged as butterflies. Unfortunately two of the butterflies had damaged wings and were not able to fly. We kept them for a bit until I was able to convince the girls that they needed to be in their natural environment. The 2 that were healthy however we released immediately. The kids loved watching them fly away. I did learn something new with this project....butterfly poop is a red liquid. I know this because all 4 of the butterflies I handled to release pooped on me. Oh fun times!

While watching the painted ladies go through complete metamorphosis we also set up an incomplete metamorphosis project. I was able to order 2 praying mantis egg cases through amazon (I am not kidding they have everything!).

They came in a cardboard cup which I am sure they would have been fine in till they hatched. We however had an empty fish tank so we decided to set up a little habitat for them. The girls chose some sticks and leaves for the habitat and I made sure to cover the top securely with plastic wrap and added a few small air holes. These were not nearly as exciting to watch. It seemed to take forever for them to hatch and I was starting to doubt that it would ever happen. They however hatched at the same time as the butterflies emerged. I seriously couldn't have timed it that way again if I tried. There were SO many little praying mantis' in there!

My husband was a bit freaked out by them and we released them ASAP. He wasn't in love with having them released in the backyard so I am hoping we don't get a ton of huge praying mantis' out there this summer. He may never forgive me!

The kids loved the project and definitely learned the different stages of both complete and incomplete metamorphosis. This was one of those time when I just love homeschooling! Seeing the lights go on in their little eyes when they get excited about learning new things is priceless!

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