Ladybug Documentation

The Bumblehopper class has been examining the concept of change. The teachers also noticed that the children were fascinated by the variety of bugs that they were finding on the playground. As a combination of these two interests, we decided to observe ladybugs and acquired some ladybug larvae as well as some adult ladybugs.

During morning meeting, the children had an opportunity to express their curiosity through questions - what do ladybugs eat in the wild? Do they live in Israel? In South Africa? In the Philippines? Do all ladybugs have spots? These were among the myriad questions that were formulated by the class. The children conducted research through books, the internet, parents and bug experts to find the answers to their questions. Observing the larvae as they grew generated much interest from the children. On the day the larvae turned into pupae, the children were very excited. Here is a snippet of their conversation:

Amir: The ladybugs are getting their hard shells.

Nadav: They are turning into adults!

Amir: This one is still a larva.

AnnAdele: Look! They're starting to get like circles.

Paige H: and they're strong to get the round spotty things to be ladybugs!

Ariyeh: Lots are around the volcano, see? See how many are around the volcano? That's a lot.

Some children also made observational drawings of the ladybugs carefully noting the details. Then a more comprehensive and larger two-dimensional color diagram was created, with different children adding different features to the diagram.

The children used the book Ladybugs by Gail Gibbons to start drawing the diagram.

Paige H traced a big bowl to make the body. Samantha  sketched the head. Max drew legs and Nadav affixed the antennae. AnnAdele drew the outer wings and C'nai drew  the inner wings on parchment paper. The children dictated their labels for each part.

The class also used Morah Beth's computer to do some further research on ladybugs. We found out that they're called ladybugs after Lady Mary, who some (non-Jewish) people prayed to for help with their crops a long, long time ago.

Other ladybug facts that we discovered were that that ladybugs can beat their wings over 100 times per second and fly over oceans and mountains! Harrison said, "Their wings are delicate." Amir wanted to know what else the ladybugs eat besides aphids and other bugs. Turns out they will also eat fungus, mildew and even some plants. Nadav found a picture of a ladybug in mid-flight, so we could really see the wings “It's like a blueprint!” said Max of our plans.

The diagram was then used to create a large papier mache ladybug model - taking the class' understanding to three dimensions. A small group helped make the papier mache paste, and began building the ladybug's body. At the time, the sensory experience was probably more impactful than what they were building. Harrison said, "I can't believe I'm doing this! It's so gross!"

Wire, beads, pipe cleaners, wood pieces and other materials were made available to the children for them to customize the papier mache ladybug. After many days of discussion, cooperation and careful construction, the model was finished and the children were amazed at all they had accomplished together!

The knowledge of ladybugs carried over to many other areas in the classroom. Even the dramatic play evolved as their understanding of ladybugs deepened.

At first, children would fly around the room and say they were ladybugs, but do things that children do. Over the course of several days, they adapted their activities to mimic the ladybug lifecycle and their understanding of ladybug behaviors.

After the Bumblehoppers released the adult ladybugs on our playground, the children began searching for them when we went outside.

Claire and Nadav began to wonder how insects play. They decided to build an insect playground. During their planning phase, they took sketchpads out to the school playground to record the different elements on our playground and discussed how to best adapt them to insects. They then drew plans and finally used their plans to create the block structure. As more children joined the construction, Claire acted as foreman, ensuring that the plans were consulted and followed.

Overall, the children certainly learned a lot about ladybugs but more importantly they learned about scientific inquiry, research, cooperation, problem solving and the process of sharing their knowledge.