Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Outdoor Hour...Substitutions

The next outdoor nature challenge was on ladybugs.  Since ladybugs seem few and far between here, we completed a few challenges on a praying mantis, caterpillars, and spiders.  These little critters crossed our paths and we couldn't resist learning a little more about them and drawing them in our nature notebooks.

We found this beautiful bright green caterpillar crawling across my grandmother's driveway.   Boo is never afraid to pick things up and he was the first to grab it and exclaim, "You can touch it, it won't hurt you!"

When we got home, we immediately tried to figure out what kind of caterpillar it might be.  We soon discovered that it is the larvae of a Antheraea Polyphemus Moth.  We decided we would make the caterpillar a home in a shoebox and see if he would form his cocoon so we could overwinter him.  I couldn't fine very much information on how to overwinter the caterpillar, but we did discover the host plant is most all broadleaf deciduous trees.

We used this shoebox to build a home.  We placed some dirt, oak leaves, sticks and pinestraw in the bottom.  Next, we placed the caterpillar inside.  We brought the caterpillar inside to draw in our nature notebooks.  He was a beauty to draw with his bright green color and shiny spots along his side.

After finishing our nature notebook entries, we placed the box outside on the porch.  I thought being in the cooler temperatures would be best.  Unfortunately a couple of days later the kids checked on the caterpillar and he was being eaten by ants.  They were a little disappointed, but that gave us the opportunity to talk about why ants are important to the circle of life.

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