Tuesday, May 2, 2017
A Butterfly Funeral
...you heard me right!
A set of words I never thought I say. Butterfly funeral. Today started like any other. We came to school shared our learning throughout the day, then ended with our science lessons.
We have been raising butterflies from larva. Ours were purchased through amazon, in connection with Insect Lore (Butterfly Kit).
We got our caterpillars in larva form...so small....so interesting. Over the next few days we watched them eat, and eat, and eat, and get FAT! Love it. We watched in awe as we got to witness butterflies breaking through the chrysalis!!! FANTASTIC that 3 did this while we were in the classroom. To our dismay one of our little fellows didn't survive. It stopped part of the way through metamorphosis and just never finished.
Today was the day my students have been waiting for. RELEASE DAY! We walked out to our nature trail and discussed what we had learned about our butterflies. Each time one took flight cheers erupted and joy filled my soul! Nothing like it. Our final little fellow, who survived, seemed to be struggling. One wing was bent, but he was still determined. We watched him fly to the ground and try several times to take flight. We discussed what could be happening, and I listened as students cheered each time our little guy tried to fly. Then...choking back a few tears...I watched as our last little butterfly took flight into the nearby trees. The best part was the celebration that took place around me as my amazing group of 8 year olds celebrated the life they had watched from the beginning! So amazing.
This is were the funeral comes into play. We went back in the room and talked about our chrysalis that never finished. One child asked what we would see if we broke into the chrysalis...DISCLAIMER: I had waited plenty long enough to know that this one would never finish...I used this as a teaching moment and we, somewhat, dissected the chrysalis to view the inside. We learned that metamorphosis had not fully finished and out butterfly was only partially formed. Once our "serendipity" learning moment was over another student chimed in. She asked what I was going to do with him. She couldn't bare the thought of him ending up in the garbage and asked if we could bury him. So...we did. We marched down to the edge of the woods, dug a hole, talked about butterflies, and buried our 5th little friend. Now some of you may be wondering why this went that far. My students. That is exactly why. Once we finished burying the little half formed butterfly, several students stopped to thank me for my actions. It was worth it. I know that with all my heart.
Everyone that knows me understands that my love for butterflies runs DEEP. Has since I was very little. I am so glad to share this love with my students as we raise butterflies and release them into the wild. I never thought that I would experience a "Butterfly Funeral", but today that became a reality. I loved every sweet moment we shared today.