The Early Years: Collards and Caterpillarsby: Peggy Ashbrook

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Community, assemblage, network, complex, interdependent, web, and synergism—definitions of an ecosystem often include these words to highlight the dynamic interrelated workings of plants and animals with their physical environment. Young children don’t understand the complexities of ecosystems, but they can begin to understand that only certain food sources meet the needs of an insect species, part of the National Science Education Content Standard C, Life Science, Characteristics of organisms, life cycles of organisms, and organisms and environments.

  • Elementary
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Reviews (2)
  • on Wed Aug 24, 2011 12:47 PM

Children don’t understand the concepts of ecology but they will learn that animals require only certain foods to survive. In this article an activity is provided that shows the interrelationship between the cabbage white caterpillar and collard greens. The author provides questions to support inquiry as the plant attracts butterflies and then goes through the organism’s life cycle. Observing the world around young children helps them develop scientific skills.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Fri Jun 10, 2011 4:51 PM

As a gardener my first reaction to this suggestion of purposely growing collards and flowers to attract the cabbage white butterfly was not one I'd try But as a lesson for young preschoolers to count "visible butterflies, eggs, larvae, and other animals or thenumber of holes in a leaf are ways totake note of animals in the ecosystem and to notice any changes" would be ideal !

Arlene Jurewicz Leighton
Arlene Jurewicz Leighton

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