This summer term I had the privilege of bringing Science to life in my classroom in what I thought was a wonderful project. It is easily integrated with all subject areas, comes with straightforward instructions and most of all it works! All that is required for the project came to my class in two boxes. One contained the net enclosure for chrysalids, full illustrated directions and a small plastic rod if anything ever became stuck or needed to be dislodged.
A second box contained the caterpillars in a sealed plastic jar.
The idea behind this project came from the charity Debra Ireland which helps people affected by the condition E.B. (Epidermolysis bullosa ) . This is a rare genetic disorder which causes a most difficult skin condition in which the person’s skin is prone to damage so must remain permanently bandaged. In fact the skin is so delicate that it is similar to that of a fragile butterfly’s wings – hence the logo of Debra is the butterfly.
In first class I was very happy to accept the caterpillars into my classroom. Each morning they provided an interesting talking point as the children observed the changes. Once the chrysalids were formed, they transferred easily on the paper disc (provided in the kit) and were then pinned inside the mesh netting enclosure. Then, placed out of direct sunlight, they developed over the next week.
During this time our S.E.S.E lessons were devoted to all aspects of the butterfly. We compiled fact files, looked at websites for information and did pair project work on the theme. We explored symmetry in Maths and used this as a starting point for our Visual Arts printing. Music and English were easily integrated and pupils enjoyed writing acrostic poems using the word caterpillar. Our language enrichment programme included all the scientific terms as well as verbs such as emerge, develop and transform. Pupils from other countries taught us how to say butterfly in Romanian, French and Spanish – all of which we shared with the parents on Butterfly Day. Pupils were eager to add to our display, with items from home and on Butterfly Day dressed in t-shirts, leggings and wore hair bands all featuring butterflies.
On the day, I was fortunate to have one of the parents to speak about Debra and she brought balloons to decorate the classroom. Parents donated what they wished to the charity and all of us enjoyed and benefitted from the experience. I would certainly recommend this to teachers as a Summer term project. Contact [email protected] for further details.
First class teacher
Kildare Place N.S.