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 (3)
  • on Tue Apr 14, 2020 4:32 PM

I chose this article because as a future teacher to students who are younger caterpillars and butterflies are very prominent in the classroom science time. Although once I dug into the material of this article I received more information on ecosystems rather than the process from caterpillar to butterfly. I learned that that cabbage white butterfly is common in North America and food growers consider it a pest because its larvae eats plants such as cabbage, broccoli, and kale. (10) Organisms and environments. The student knows that organisms resemble their parents and have structures and processes that help them survive within their environments. The student is expected to:(C) investigate and record some of the unique stages that insects such as grasshoppers and butterflies undergo during their life cycle. I don’t disagree with any information in this article. Although I do love the idea they described for a classroom experiment. They recommended planting a classroom garden. They used milk cartons with the top cut off and planted radishes. This would be great for a classroom. Students would get to watch their plants grow all school year and maybe even eat their produce.

Chelsea Brown  (Mineola, TX)
Chelsea Brown (Mineola, TX)

  • 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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