Kings of the classroom: Monarchs teach students strength, beauty, life and death
By Heather McDonald
The fourth-grade girls scurried to the plastic, flexible container. Hannah Rekowski reached it first and quickly began unzipping the top while Lila McGuire tried to hold it still. The delicate creature dangling from the lid swayed with the jostling.
“Oh, it’s fine, we can take them out,” Hannah said, jabbering with excitement as she tried to right the insect on her finger.
The poor thing went limp and flipped back upside down.
“It’s wings are still too wet. See?” Hannah said as she held it up; it seemed to cling in desperation to the pad of her finger.
The newly “born” butterfly was barely 10 minutes old.
It is the last one the fourth-grade class watched transform from caterpillars just millimeters long into chrysalises and then emerge as Monarchs. Last week, they released it- a male -into the butterfly garden in the back of Amherst Elementary School, each student calling out “adios.”
For the past five weeks, students in fourth-grade teacher Kathleen Nicholson’s class have studied butterflies, their life cycle, their differences, their similarities, their behaviors, and they’ve tracked a variety of data on them.
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