Spring Life Cycles!

7:48 AM

Spring! I absolutely love spring. Spring to me means warmer temperatures, sunnier days, garden planting, and new life. And here in Georgia, it also means the insane summer humidity hasn’t hit yet! So believe me when I say that I really do love spring! 
To many folks, spring’s new life comes in the farm of animals and their young. Currently at our house, we are watching these Painted Lady caterpillars grow and molt. No matter how many times I’ve taught it, I am always amazed by the complete transformation a caterpillar makes into a butterfly. Each day, my four-year-old checks to see if they’ve “made a J” on the top of their jar. We’ve talked and learned about the butterfly’s life cycle, familiar to many of us as educators. We have crafts, songs, chants, books, and writing assignments about the amazing life cycle of a butterfly. One of the best ways for kids to grasp a life cycle is to build a physical model. Here is my son with the cycle we made with craft stuff we already had at home! Giving our kids and students the chance to explore science with hands-on learning is one of the best ways to make those concepts stick! 
      As a science teacher, I’ve enjoyed taking a closer look at many other life cycles. Though we as educators are often locked in to specific science topics to cover, if you have to teach life cycles, see if you can also include some that are outside the norm! Comparing and contrasting amphibian, mammal, bird, fish, or reptile life cycles can be eye-opening for our students! I have a great resource for elementary readers about many different life cycles-check it out here!

Frogs have a fascinating life cycle. We’re familiar with the idea that frogs hatch into tadpoles, then develop into adult frogs with legs. But like butterflies, they too change into completely different animals! Tadpoles have teeth, tails, and breathe underwater. Frogs have tongues, four legs, and lungs to breathe air. In the three months it takes for tadpoles to change into frogs, almost every single organ in their bodies is different. For animals that go through a complete metamorphosis, such as frogs, ants, and butterflies, I love doing a contrast activity with students. Have students sort the animal’s different physical attributes according to the stage in which they occur.  Including simple pictures of the different attributes, like the ones shown above, is a great way to modify a contrast activity for younger kids or English-language-learners. There is also an adorable book that I just discovered called The Caterpillar and the Polliwog by Jack Kent. Perfect for comparing and contrasting two different species and their life cycles!

     Looking to check out more life cycles? Kangaroos, cicadas, and jellyfish are a few more animals that have really interesting life cycles. Spring is the perfect season to explore awesome animals! 

by Robyn from The Snodgrass Smart Store

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