Adult Butterflies and Our Theories About Our Chrysalises

This morning we discussed a problem we were having.  Our butterflies haven’t emerged from their chrysalises yet, but the butterflies in the other grade 2 classrooms have already emerged.  We also noticed that the colour of the chrysalises have changed from light gray to black.  Even though the chrysalises are supposed to get darker before the butterflies emerge, this is usually because they are becoming more transparent (clear) and we can see their dark wings.  Our chrysalises look opaque (not clear), and they also look smaller than we remember.

Based on these clues, we think our butterflies will not emerge from their chrysalises.  Mrs. Ho has never had this happen before!  We followed the same steps as she did in previous years, which were also the same steps as the other classes.  So what happened to our pupae?  Mrs. Ho asked us to brainstorm our ideas.  We were good scientists and came up with several theories:

  • Maybe they didn’t eat enough food
  • Maybe they ate too much food
  • Maybe something happened to the food
  • Maybe they got hungry in the chrysalises
  • Maybe our room was too cold
  • Maybe there’s not enough nature
  • Maybe it’s something to do with the air
  • The weather has been cooler this year than previous years, which might affect the temperature or climate of the room.
  • Our room is on the other side of the hallway from the other grade 2 classrooms so maybe there’s some small difference in the environment of our room that we might not even notice
  • Maybe our room doesn’t have enough humidity (water in the air) and was too dry.
  • We know butterflies migrate to warmer places when they get too cold. Maybe it was because of where the sun was. Maybe our room didn’t get enough sun and wasn’t warm enough.
  • Maybe they got sick

Even though our pupae couldn’t make it to the next stage of the life cycle, we had a great time raising them from larva to pupa.  We got to observe other Painted Lady Butterflies as adults and help release them back into the wild.

Mrs. Trotti’s class had one more chrysalis that hasn’t emerged yet.  It’s still a gray colour for now.  We’re going to keep it in our room and see if it will emerge for us.  We have come up with these changes to hopefully help it have a better chance of survival:

  • Move it closer to the window so it will get more warmth from the sun
  • Keep the shutters open to let in more light (usually we close one half of the shutters because it bothers us when people knock on our window during recess and look in, and we also like making sure the word wall is visible – but we will be patient with this to make our classroom the best environment for this pupa!)
  • Misting it with water every day in case our classroom isn’t humid enough

From Caterpillar to Butterfly

Our class wrote this together to tell you more about what we are learning: 

Our class adopted painted lady caterpillars.  We are observing them as they grow and change and go through the different life stages. We would like to share with you what we’ve learned so far about our painted lady caterpillars.

We have had our larvae or caterpillars since May 17th.  They are black in colour and have three main parts. These parts are the head, thorax and abdomen.  They also have legs and prolegs.  The legs are the six at the front and the prolegs are at the back.  The anal prolegs are the two at the very, very back.  The prolegs are false legs but help the larva to hang upside down. They also have spiracles (breathing holes) on their back and spines (sharp spikes). So if a predator touches them, it will seem blurry to them so that helps protect them in the wild.

They ate a lot and then their bodies grew longer and wider.  They ate the nutrients we gave them.  When they were in a J-shape, we knew they were getting ready to go into a chrysalis.  When they were in their J-shapes, they were hanging on things that looked like threads.  But that was silk that came out of their spinnerets.  When they move their head back and forth, that means they’re probably using their spinnerets.

Now they are in the pupa stage of the life cycle.  Now they are a brownish-grayish-red.  Their colouring is very similar to trees.  We think this helps them to camouflage with trees in the wild.  We think that when they are ready, their chrysalis will open from the bottom and they will emerge.

We are really enjoying watching our caterpillars turn into butterflies.  We think it’s neat that they go through different stages of the life cycle.  We are so happy and excited to be raising them, and we can’t wait until they emerge as butterflies!



CAUTION: Engineers At Work!

We have been hired to design, build and advertise a mechanism that serves a specific purpose.  Our mechanism can either help move an elephant safely from one zoo to another zoo OR it can be a new ride for an amusement park.

Here’s a sneak peak of some of the projects already underway.

We will be creating advertisements to go with our projects.  Today we looked at a couple of examples of advertisements and talked about how advertisers usually have a target audience in mind.  The advertisers want to convince their target audience of an idea, or convince them to purchase their product.

Our Liquids Race

Do you know what are the properties of liquids?  Liquids do not have their own shape.  They always take the shape of the container.  Liquids can be gooey or runny.  On January 16th, we did an experiment with three different kinds of liquids.  For this experiment, we put a glob of ketchup, mustard and honey on top of a baking tray.  We predicted which liquid would run faster and which liquid would run slower if we tilted the tray.  Next, we tilted the tray to see what would happen.  At first the mustard was going faster than the other liquids.  Then ketchup started running even faster and started reaching the bottom first.  It looked like it was going to be a really close race! Some of us thought ketchup would win!  Then something unexpected happened.  The glob of honey had been the slowest liquid of all but right before the ketchup was about to hit the bottom of the tray, the glob of honey fell down!  It landed on the bottom of the tray before the ketchup reached the bottom.  We thought the honey cheated in this race.  Ketchup was the fastest liquid in the end!  We really enjoyed this experiment because it was exciting.  Most of us were surprised to see what happened with the honey.