Branch Families,

June has come and gone…just like that! Not only did we anticipate summer and the beautiful weather, we’ve also anticipated a fun month full of learning, discovering and discussing…Insects & Arachnids!

Our first area of study involved dragonflies and damselflies. It was amazing to witness just how quickly each Brancher picked up on both the similarities and differences between the two intriguing insects. Though they are quite similar, the Branchers were able to discover that the differences were found in their eyes, wings, body size and speed when in flight. Before long, the Branchers were spotting the winged wonders and showing examples of both within books provided in the library as well as visual aids throughout the classroom. It was great to see the children focus on the smallest of details in what made them different but alike. With the new discoveries and wonder, an art activity including both insects was a must. Our monthly name flags were the perfect addition to incorporate those beautiful winged wonders. 

Butterflies and their amazing, intriguing and interesting life cycle was next on our exploration! Though there were many questions asked and answered, we think it’s safe to say that we’re all still in wonder with the spectacular transformation while in the ‘J hang’. Because so much learning is done through visuals and hand on activities, growing our very own butterflies was in order. Through each stage of life of a butterfly, each Brancher was able to witness the transformation first hand, and what a transformation it proved to be! As we said goodbye to our Painted Ladies, we created butterflies to remain in the classroom to remind us of their beauty. Melting crayons on parchment paper with the help of  a warming tray allowed the Branchers to create their very own colorful wings for their stained glass butterfly, and each one turned out so uniquely beautiful!

Hard Working busy buzzing bees were next on our list of insects to learn and discover. Just when we thought insects couldn’t be more fascinating, we realized that bees know how to dance…that’s right, dance! When a bee finds a sweet spot to collect nectar and pollen, it will put on its dancing shoes and ‘cut a rug’ (metaphorically, that is)! Depending on the travel distance for the bees to follow, is shown through different movements the bee makes. Fascinating to say the least! Knowing that bees have two sets of wings and five eyes, we were able to appropriately create popsicle stick bees. Hexagon honeycomb self-portraits and even tested our taste buds as the Branchers participated in a honey taste test! Yummy! 

What’s the word, Ladybird? During our outdoor investigations, we discovered ladybugs near the Willow tree! Ladybugs are pretty interesting, mainly because they have such unique life cycles. Fortunately, we could watch this lifecycle happen right before our eyes While exploring the playground, each Brancher put their searching skills to the test as they looked for eggs, larva, pupas and even full grown ladybugs! We learned that ladybugs love to snack on aphids, and the Willow tree was full of them! 

Get your worm on! Although worms are not necessarily considered ‘insects’ rather ‘invertebrate animals’ learning about them was next on our agenda! Through many educational books, illustrations, visuals, songs and great discussions, it’s a fact that the Branchers thoroughly enjoyed the wriggly, squiggly and slimy creatures! Exploring and discovering is so much fun when you can use your senses, so real worms were placed in soil and were set up for the Branchers to fully explore! Rulers were also available to measure each worm out. Talk about sensational sensory science! We ended our ‘worm week’ with a sweet gummy worm taste test and science activity! 

Spiders were our last peek of interest. A common misconception is that spiders are insects, when in fact they are called arachnids. During a group discussion, we learned that insects have six legs and spiders have eight legs. This distinction classifies them as arachnids. After discovering the spider’s characteristics, we learned some pretty fascinating facts, such as spinning webs! We found that a spider has a lot of uses for its ‘silk’. Ask your Brancher if they can tell you some of the ways they use their silk! We of course had to create arachnids of our own. Fine motor skills were a must to generate each of the eight arachnid legs, and the Branchers proved they were up to the challenge as they ‘accordion folded’ each strip of black paper! Eight accordian legs, eight googly eyes completed our super silk spinners!

We could go on and on about this month’s study because it was packed with learning and discovery and the Branch classroom did an amazing job at soaking up all this new information! Make sure you ask your Brancher some of their favorite highlights they enjoyed throughout the month! 

It seems each month the Branchers are more and more eager to learn and they have perfected the art of retaining information. We are so proud of the accomplishments they have made thus far and we’re eager to observe their continuing growth and wonder! Summer has officially arrived and we’re off to a get start! Next up, we will be studying…SPACE! We are so eager to take the Branchers on their first Space Exploration. July is going to be ‘out of this World’!

-Ms. Heather & Ms. Gracen

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