Posted by: csdailyblog | February 10, 2011

Environmental Science: Observing and Drawing Larvae

James and Amber watch one of the larvae as it crawls on James' hand.

One of the Conserve School Learning Goals states that after attending Conserve School, a student should be able to “demonstrate the inquiry-based, observational and reflective skills necessary to the development of an on-going sense of place.” Here you can see students working on those inquiry-based observation skills as they look very closely at their growing larvae, watch how they move, and draw them in minute detail.

These photos were taken just a few days after the photos in this earlier blog post, and you can see that in that short period of time the caterpillars, or “instars,” have at least tripled in size.

Adrian drawing a detailed sketch of his larva.

You can read more about the science topics students are learning about through their study of butterflies on Science Teacher Robert Eady’s Conserve School website.

It’s a shame that so much high school science education in our country focuses on textbook-based abstractions rather than on hands-on interaction with and observation of natural phenomena. The pages of a textbook, no matter how interesting the content, just can’t hold a candle to the fascinating intricacies of real life.

Henry and Hannah measure the growth of one of the larvae.

The University of Minnesota science curriculum project that we are participating in, funded by the National Science Foundation, is aimed at increasing young people’s understanding of the scientific method and interest in science by providing more opportunities for active, inquiry-based science education like this butterfly research project. You can read more about Conserve School’s involvement in this curriculum development project here.

Mary Anna

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