At a recent trip to the nursery I spotted a plant I had been eyeing off for a while heavily marked down. Something had been nibbling on one of its large, ornamental leaves but apart from that it was fine. What I didn’t realise was that I would be bringing the very-hungry-something home with us! The next day I noticed the second of the plant’s large leaves eaten, and by the following day the plant was almost annihilated! I decided it was time for some detective work, and wasn’t really surprised to find a huge caterpillar tucked out of view down inside a stalk.
The kids and I retrieved the sneaky culprit and put him in a box for further investigation. We talked about the caterpillar’s colour and markings. We watched the way it moved. We took note of its size and the funny “tail” at the end. We talked about what colour butterfly it might turn into and wondered how we could find out…?
So then we pulled down an enyclopedia. Oh hang on, no – that’s not what we did. We googled it. Here’s how I guided Little Miss 3 through an internet search:
Me: We want to find more information. Google can help us find information. What information do we want to find?
LM3: We want to find out about what our caterpillar will turn into.
Me: That’s a lot of words. Can you tell me one word? We want to know about…?
Me: Ok, let’s type c-a-t-e-r-p-i-l-l-a-r-s. That says caterpillars.
LM3: That sure is a big word Mum!
Me: Do we want to know about AAALLLL the caterpillars in the world? Or just the caterpillars where we live?
LM3: Just where we live.
Me: And where do we live? In B…
Me: Ok, let’s type B-r-i-s-b-a-n-e. There. So now we’re asking Google (point) to tell us information about caterpillars (point to word) in Brisbane (point to word). Can you click here?
I’m not fussed on young kids playing heaps of computer games, but I think there is a lot of value to be had in early, purposeful use of technology.
We found a couple of useful sites and looked at various pictures of caterpillars to identify our own. There was so much fantastic language involved in this process as we eliminated images. Too green. Too spotty. Too hairy! Once we found some caterpillars that were similar we could look at more subtle detail like the four yellow spots, and the funny “tail”. Eventually we found a match… we think! Our best guess is that our very hungry caterpillar will become a Hawk Moth…
My daughter enthusiastically took her caterpillar to kindy today and shared her new found knowledge with her classmates.
We love learning together. Did you learn something with your kids today?