Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Science in the Summer

One Sunday afternoon at my parents' house, Gavin and Maddie "adopted" two caterpillars. They found them on the rue in the herb garden and decided they needed to come home with us. We fixed them each up with a jar with a fabric top for air, a wet sponge, and a bit of rue to eat. Each caterpillar was named. Gavin's was declared a girl named Cutie. Maddie's was a "boy" named Gavin! (Tragically, "Gavin" died so Maddie adopted a new caterpillar the next week named Heimlich Gavin.)

They were really good about checking the food supply and sponge every day ... and cleaning out the poop! They love looking at this big animal book we have and poring through the pictures of animals. I decided to see if the swallowtail caterpillar was in there and it was so they took some time to look at it together. One Wednesday night, we noticed Maddie's caterpillar-- excuse me, Heimlich Gavin-- had crawled up the side of the jar and was not moving. By the next morning, he was in his chrysalis. On Thursday, Cutie went through the same process.

Twelve days in a row of "checking on the caterpillars" followed! On Monday morning as we leaving to run errands, Maddie looked and a butterfly was flapping around in the jar! Heimlich Gavin had come out of the chyrsalis! Sure enough, Cutie had come out, too! Needless to say, we didn't leave to run errands for quite a while. Heimlich Gavin nibbled on some grass after he was set free and then flew off into the big world amidst cheers from the kids.

Cutie was more hesitant and after watching her for quite some time, we had to leave because someone was expecting me-- 15 minutes ago! We pulled away from the house with Maddie sobbing in the backseat because she hadn't been able to watch Cutie test out her wings! I kept thinking, "What kind of Charlotte Mason-style mother am I deeming these errands more important than nature watching?" So...after we had met our first obligation, I went back home and let the older kids get out and coax Cutie to fly away. Within minutes they had succeeded and we went on our way with dry eyes! This kind of science is so much more fun than textbooks!


  1. What special memories! Thanks for sharing!

  2. That is so cool! Every time we've tried to raise caterpillars, they die. Same with tadpoles. I think the laws of science don't work properly in my house.

  3. That is so neat! Way better than text books or sitting around!!! Way to go Mom!

  4. First, the name Heimlich Cutie gave me a chuckle.. but then "what kind of Charlotte Mason-style mother am I?" made me laugh out loud! I loved it! :-) What a great experience!

  5. Happy Birthday to Heimlich Gavin and Cutie!

    I can SO relate to Jana who believes the laws of science don't work at her house! We have had many years of failed science experiments. Discouraging.
    But we did successfully raise two caterpillars a couple of years ago (after some caterpillar deaths, mind you)...and are quite hopeful that this year's pair will become butterflies soon. (They are now in the chrysallis stage.)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...