In the fall, students will be observing the Monarch butterfly as it goes through the different stages of its life cycle. Students will also be observing ladybugs and comparing the ladybug’s life cycle with the Monarch’s life cycle. The first part of the unit is structured so that students go into this exploration knowing that the Monarch butterfly faces various obstacles throughout its life; the lack of milkweed, predators as well as insects that encroach on their food supply. Students will learn about the Monarch butterfly and its primary food source to help them think of and communicate ideas to help solve the Monarch’s problem.
In the spring, students will be observing frogs as they go through the various changes in their life cycle. Students will learn that observing and recording will help them to see the changes that a frog goes through in its life. They will also be observing toads throughout its life cycle to help them make the connection that although animals might be different, they have similar needs and go through similar life stages. In this part of the unit, students will experience setting up and conducting a feeding experiment to see which type of food will help frogs grow faster. Through this experience, students will learn the importance of food in the growth of a living thing but also will learn about setting up experiments and help them begin to understand fair testing.