Slowly emerging marvel: butterflies at St. Margaret’s School

Submitted by Lisa Perla

MATTYDALE — The first-graders in my class at St. Margaret’s School are learning about life cycles.

Over the course of four weeks the students watched five caterpillars transform from larva, to pupa, to adult.

The students watched the caterpillars feast on the food in the cup they arrived in. The caterpillars tripled in size before crawling to the top of their cup habitat and forming chrysalides. The students would just observe and wait very patiently for the emergence of a beautiful Painted Lady Butterfly.

Two weeks of observing paid off when two butterflies emerged on the morning of April 15; then two more emerged in the afternoon.

We were sure the last one wasn’t going to make it when it miraculously emerged on Friday, April 16. We fed the Painted Lady Butterflies orange slices. As we watched the butterflies flutter around, we had to wait to watch the temperature outside. In order to let them go, the temperature outside had to be 58 degrees or higher.

Monday, April 19, was a good day to let our butterflies go. We checked the temperature at noon and it was 60 degrees. We sat outside in a circle, each student holding an orange slice. We opened the butterfly garden and out flew the butterflies. Some flew right away but one stayed with us for a short time to be passed from student to student on the orange slices.

What a great time we had learning about metamorphosis and the life cycle. They were so proud that they took such care of the insects that they were able to now explore the world.

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