Through most of the Fall we were lucky enough to be able to observe a praying mantis, Lucy, in our classroom. All of the books we read told us that she would die when the weather got colder. Even though we had discussed her lifespan, our friends were still pretty sad when she died. Our hearts were made happier though by the discovery of two praying mantis egg cases on a bush outside! We did some research as a class and learned that if we let the egg cases hatch in November, the baby mantises would not survive over the Winter. We decided to freeze the egg cases so the babies would stay dormant until warmer Spring weather was here.
For five months the eggs have been safe in my freezer. Finally this week, I announced at meeting that it was time to take the egg cases out and prepare for them to hatch. The kids are SO excited about the prospect of seeing baby praying mantises. Since everyone wanted a chance to see the egg cases, I put both of them out at meeting so each child could take a turn observing them.
Emilia even took her learning a step further. After she finished sketching the egg case, she went over to our praying mantis books and grabbed a few for reference. Then, she drew an egg hatching with nymphs coming out of it. "How can I write nymphs?" she asked me. After that, she drew an adult praying mantis on a third piece of paper. "What do you call this one?" she asked. I helped her label both of her pictures with the appropriate titles. "Look! I made the whole life of a praying mantis!" she beamed.
Emilia assembled her work into a mobile and made sure her pictures were hanging in order. At meeting, she shared her work with us and our friends were very impressed! They asked her questions about her thinking gave her lots of positive feedback.