One of our amazing teachers, Ms. Cassie in our Minnetonka school, is part of a group that works to rebuild the monarch butterfly population in our area! She and her team personally find monarch butterfly eggs, raise their caterpillars, and watch the butterflies grow before releasing them in the same environment where they found the eggs. By taking care of the eggs and caterpillars they are able to keep them safe from natural predators as they grow into butterflies.
Ms. Cassie brought her caterpillars into the school and let each classroom pick a caterpillar to watch as they grew to full size, built their chrysalis, and emerged as butterflies. To say our students were awestruck is an understatement! We were really impressed too as we watched them grow alongside our students and teachers.
Here are the behind the scenes pictures of the growth and activities that has been happening in Ms. Cassie’s classroom this last month!
In this activity our students worked on letter recognition, name recognition, fine motor skills, and of course they learned about butterflies! Cassie’s students made a pattern out of the circles to create their caterpillars, then they used a fork to paint the grass, and then they finished the art project by painting their own butterfly so that they can recognize the colors that set monarch butterflies apart!
This is just one of the eggs that Ms. Cassie found this year! When we see the butterflies it is hard to believe they start out this small! The caterpillars only stay in their eggs for 3-5 days so she had to be fast when she found these!
This little guy was just about ready to build his chrysalis! It takes caterpillars 11-18 days to mature before they build their chrysalis!
To build the chrysalis the caterpillars had to find something to hang from, fall into a J like form for about 24 hours, and then they pupate to tighten their chrysalis! This process only takes about five minutes when they begin pupation so our students were able to watch this happen in their classroom more than once!
This beautiful butterfly was very close to emerging! The class was in aw to see the wings through the chrysalis!
Ms. Cassie’s class was able to watch this guy emerge and then later that day Ms. Cassie took him back to his home and set him free! These monarch butterflies will actually fly as far as Mexico in the winter and then they will return to Minnesota in the Spring to lay more eggs!
Thank you Ms. Cassie for sharing this experience with our students and teachers here at Yellow Brick Road! We have all learned a lot about Monarch Butterflies from this project and we can not wait to do it again next year!