We have recently been studying the life cycles of caterpillars and have had a caterpillar in an insect tank in the house for the children to watch. Everyday it was cared for and given new leaves to eat and we were eagerly watching for the first signs of a transformation. All efforts were rewarded early one morning when it started to shed it's caterpillar skin, after much wriggling the pupa below was free and once exposed it changed colour to a very dark brown.
The shed skin with all it's caterpillar features can clearly be seen in the photograph above. We have kept the skin to study under the digital microscope and the pupa has been put in a safe and quiet place to continue with it's transformation. The children have enjoyed this life cycle study and have also been watching cinnabar caterpillars on the ragwort outside. Last year we studied the life cycle of frogs and pond ecology and we had tadpoles in a tank on the kitchen table.
The children have also been doing some caterpillar related junk modelling with egg boxes, as you can see above we have cut the egg box in half, keeping a long row to resemble a caterpillar. This has then been painted and decorated along with some other critters and left to dry.
After the paint had dried some pipe cleaner legs, antenna and googly eyes where added to complete the caterpillar look.
These are the finished caterpillars... colourful little critters, don't you think?
The children will be closely watching the status of all the pupae we have, for any signs of hatching as we are hoping to film the process if it happens during the day and will let you know how that turns out.