June 7, 2011
First-graders at Patrick Henry Elementary School went buggy this year with the help of a grant from the Martinsville City Public Schools Endowment.
More than 80 students recently gathered outside the school to release monarch butterflies into the wild after raising them in their classrooms. The “Going Buggy in the Classroom” project was funded by a $200 endowment grant that provided butterfly pavilions and caterpillars as well as ant hill sets and live harvester ants for each of the school’s four first-grade classrooms.
The children learned firsthand about the life cycles of insects as they observed them. Students kept observation diaries as the caterpillars formed chrysalides and hatched into orange and black butterflies. They drew pictures of the ants and learned the different parts of the insects’ bodies.
Montana Minter, a first-grader in Marsha Collins’ class, explained that the ants “have to be kept at 74 degrees.” When the butterflies hatched, she said, “We put sugar water on the flowers for their food.”
“I learned that the ants have six legs, and they like to roll around in sand,” said classmate Madison Barker. Having insects in the classroom made her happy, she added.
“I like watching them. When you look at the ants, you can see them making tunnels,” said Jaliyah Hairston.
Reed Carter said he had seen one ant dragging another. “They can lift 10 times their own weight,” he said.
“Going Buggy in the Classroom” was one of 12 projects funded by the endowment program this school year. The endowment, a component fund of the Martinsville Area Community Foundation, was founded in 2007 to support creative educational programs in the city schools that would not otherwise be possible in the school budget.
Please visit http://www.martinsvillebulletin.com/slideshow.cfm?ID=28809 for photos of the butterfly release.
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