Documented Learning: Toddler Bug Project

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1 Project Overview Age group: Topic: Initial Interest: a group of 15 toddlers, the youngest being 18 months up to 2 years. Bugs ants crawling on our playground Outcomes: Learn how to be gentle with bugs as we find them living around us Learn about different colours of bugs e.g., red, yellow and black ladybugs Learn that some bugs fly while others crawl on the ground Learn new songs and stories while learning the different types of bugs Learn where bugs live and what they eat (Bugs can come inside for a short time but we need to let them go home to their mommies and daddies). Project Period: Monday, June 4 to Friday, August 3, 2012 Project Description & Documentation This whole project started when the toddlers discovered ants crawling around on the playground. We sat down with the children and asked them what they knew about bugs to start creating our web. The teachers heard things like: spiders crawl, ladybugs are red, grasshoppers hop and ants move fast. Marianne brought out a bug book and asked the toddlers to point out the bugs they would like to learn about. The toddlers showed interest in learning more about ants, caterpillars, butterflies, bees, worms and spiders. The next nine weeks became a bug-filled learning adventure as we read books, sang songs, went on bug hunts, made bugs on paper, with play dough, moved like bugs and became bugs ourselves. Ants We talked about ants over a few weeks discovering that they can change colour by drinking coloured sugar water and they love to eat rotten bananas. We caught many ants in our homemade bug catchers. We discovered ants live on logs at the park so we came back to Owl and made a yummy snack of ants on a log (bread sticks with cheese and raisin Ants). We used our numeracy skills to count the ants 1

2 (raisins) as we put them on our logs. We got creative making our own ant hills on paper using a little glue and sand. We also created an ant colony in a jar to observe for a week. We watched the tiny ants move around inside, and were very sad on Friday when we had to return our ants back to their original home. We talked about how important it is for them to be with their family. Spiders On our bug walk we discovered lots of spider webs. We talked about how spiders live in webs and how they use them to catch their meals. We created our own spider webs using glue, sparkles and paper. Then we made a large web outside on the fence using rope. We learned more about spiders from the Very Busy Spider book by Eric Carle. We also enjoyed singing The Itsy Bitsy Spider adding our own lyrics to the song by choosing different sizes of spiders such as the Big Daddy Spider. 2

3 Bees A parent brought in a paper wasp hive for us to explore. Marianne found a few books at the library that we read to learn more about bees and what they do. We sang about a baby bumble bee and talked about how some bees can sting. We read a book about a bee hive, where the busy bees work to make honey. We talked about how bees collect nectar from flowers and the dance they do to tell other bees where to find the flowers. Deb found a honey comb that she brought in to share with us. We discovered that honey was sweet and sticky. Worms One day, after it rained, we found a worm in the grass on our playground. We tried to catch it to have a closer look, but it moved too quickly back underground. We learned that worms live in the dirt underground. Later we dug through the mud and found a few worms. Deb picked up some of the worms so we could have a closer look and to feel them. We talked about how we need to be gentle when holding the worms. We made a couple of worm snacks: worms in dirt and jelly worms. We used our numeracy skills to mix together the ingredients for our dirt (chocolate pudding) and counted out the gummy worms as we mixed them in. Making our jelly worms was a two-day process, we mixed together Jello powder, gelatin, whipping cream, and food colouring. We poured our mixture into bendy straws, but had to wait a day before we could eat them. One of our parents brought in a worm farm for us to observe. We put in scraps of newsprint, fruit and vegetables and watched as over a few days the worms turn the scraps into compost. We learned that this is the worms job in nature. 3

4 Moths and Butterflies On our playground, the toddlers had observing moths flying around, so we got out our bug nets and catchers in hopes of catching one. We caught a couple of Tiger Moths and brought them into the classroom to have a closer look at them. We later released them back to their homes. The toddlers learned about how a caterpillar turns into a beautiful butterfly through reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. As we learned about the caterpillars, we explored numeracy as we counted the number of pieces of food they eat each day. We also made a list of the toddlers favourite fruit to use in our fruit salad. We took a trip to Sobeys to buy our fruit and returned to the class to prepare our yummy snack. One of our parents brought in a Monarch butterfly chrysalis to observe. We watched over it for several days waiting for the butterfly to emerge. One morning we came into the class to find a beautiful butterfly. Later the toddlers and Marianne took the butterfly outside and watched it fly away. Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches A parent donated four adult Madagascar hissing cockroaches to live in our classroom. We used a small fish tank to create a home for them. We walked down to the pet store to buy coconut bedding for them and used egg cartons for hiding spots. We learned that two were males and two were females so we talked about possible names. The boys became Mickey and Momo; the girls Minnie and Elsie. We bring them out to play at least once a week, some of the toddlers love to hold them and giggle as they crawl up their arms. We feed them fruits and veggies, often saved from our lunches, and water (with just a wet sponge) every Friday. The children spend lots of time throughout the day observing them and talking about what they see them doing. Momo moves fast, says one toddler. Minnie baby in tummy, says another. (yes, Minnie is pregnant so we are waiting for the babies to come). The teachers did a lot of research to become familiar with the cockroaches so we could properly care for them. 4

5 Project Summary Going on our bug hunts allowed us the opportunity to see many bugs, some we had never seen before. Armed with bug nets and catchers we were off to observe and explore with spiders, ants, dragonflies, lady bugs, bees, butterflies, worms and grasshoppers. Over the course of this project the toddler room was a buzz with bug information. Our curriculum web started with a few points of what the toddlers already knew about bugs; it grew to include a list of bugs we wanted to know more about and everything we were learning. We explored bugs through books, songs and up close observations both in our classroom and on our playground. We learned to be gentle when holding bugs, and that it is important to let them go back to their homes when we are done observing them. 5

6 To draw our project to a close, our teachers gave us paper, markers and crayons to draw our own bugs. As we were drawing, Marianne asked us about our pictures and she wrote it down on our papers. Using the knowledge we had learned over the past two months, we told things like; daddy long legs, butterflies in the sky, ants are marching, grasshopper is hopping, my spider web, Itsy Bitsy Spider and yellow ladybugs. Deb and Marianne used our pictures along with some of the real bug photos to make a Toddler Bug Guide for us to use in our classroom. We are still looking for bugs outside and we have learned to be very gentle with them when we do find them crawling or flying around! 6

7 Teacher Web This is the teacher planning web. This help helps them brain storm ideas on where the children s learning could go. It also helps them to plan activities that will support all the learning areas. It is colour coded to correspond with the learning domains at the bottom of the web. 7

8 8

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