Thankyou to my colleague, Carolynne who took our many tiny stick insect babies home to look after during the holidays. We now have some amazingly huge stick insects to observe and learn from.
The reaction from the students was priceless when they saw how much they had grown.
All the students had experienced helping to put in new leaves and take out the old in the process of caring for these interesting creatures.
This involved putting down some white fabric (my idea after losing a few on the dark carpet when we opened the cage door) and shaking the old leaves gently to remove the tiny babies. Some students then were in charge of searching the old leaves for reluctant stick insects still on the branches. Some students were in charge of collecting all the stick insects on the cloth using water colour brushes from my art studio.
This was quite hilarious at times with many escaping in the process. When we were satisfied that we had put them all in and had put fresh leaves and water into the cage, we gently shut the cage door hoping not to squash any.
The students really loved this hands on experience and of course got to see the insects up close while handing them.
However now we have huge stick insects and I can see that this is more confronting for some students to manage a big creature walking all over them. Our new students who hadn't experienced the whole ongoing process were a little nervous.
Next week we will use the stick insects as inspiration for some art making and students will handle carefully these creatures to observe just how fascinating they are.
Then we need to make some decisions....
Do we release some? We will need to discuss implications for this.
Do we continue to keep some in each learning studio? (They want to!)
What will happen if they all lay eggs?
These students are very thoughtful about their environment and the implications when unexpected changes occur.
Are we creating a change in our environment by releasing these back into the wild? Would this many have survived? What part does the stick insect play in the balance of nature and the web of life?
What I do know though, is that our students have fabulous "nature eyes" which spot an amazing array of interesting things and occurences in our school yard and in environments away from school. Being able to experience nature and its wonders close up certainly fosters this valuable interest.
|These tiny babies are a few days old.|
|Very tricky to see the newly hatched stick insects in the fresh foliage.|
|Many of the new babies still had their egg attached.|
|Our cage has been made from an old drawer with a frame hinged on the front.|
|The students used brushes to handle the tiny babies and to put them back into their enclosure.|
|Wow! Look how big they have grown over the holidays...|
|There are lots of them!!!|
|We are finding more eggs which have hatched, so there is a mixture of tiny and large stick insects. Great for comparison....|