Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Silkworm Investigation

The Silkworm Investigation is so cool!  I have created a PPT out of the photo diary I compiled watching my students observe, record data, and represent that data in a bar and pictograph graph.  I have included a stop motion video that I found on the Internet that speeds up the silk worm cycle.  The kids get a wow perspective out of this amazing short video.  The miracle of life the silkworm cycle in just a few minutes.  This video further solidifies the stages and enabling the class to get a firm handle on this small but amazing creature.

Objectives:  All insects have cycles of life.  Through close observation we can learn about these cycles.  Each stage of the life cycle has mile markers that we can observe over time.   Our observations can be gathered to record the changes or stages.  Journals are a way we can gather data so we can learn by what we see daily and over time.

Materials Needed:
Silkworm eggs, Mulberry leaves for food, large plastic container, computer paper to place in bottom of container, paper towel tubes cut in half, large cardboard box, paintbrush to use to pick up and place larvae.


Eggs and food can be bought on line easily for a very good price.  The eggs can stay in one large container until they begin the larvae stage.  Then you should place half of them in another large plastic container.  The container should be lined with white paper and you should begin feeding them Mulberry leaves right away.  The paper will need to be changed every day as they do a fair amount of excrement.  Use a small paintbrush to transport each larvae temporarily placing them on a clean piece of paper while throwing the old paper away.  It is not necessary to wash out the container each time.  Be careful not to touch the larvae as you can pass on germs to the larvae.  Students can use a paintbrush as well for closer observation.

Daily Observation:

Daily Observations are recorded from the egg to moth stage.  I made a book out of computer paper by folding a good amount of paper over and stapling a cover over on it.  The kids depicted what they observed by an illustration and then scripted the account below making sure to use all senses that apply and looking closely for evidence of the stage and listing wonder questions.  I gave many lessons on how to observe using our senses and the kids read short text on the stages paraphrasing the steps in their own words as well.  We saw videos too.  The one below was found on Vimeo.  This is a good site to find educational videos.  An example of a student journal is below.

If you are able to acquire a microscope as I did you can have your students have a closer look at all stages.  Check the photos out of my students using the microscope!

Recording Data From our Journals

Data was collected from the class journals and a bar and pictograph was created from this data.  Each student worked with a partner to complete both graphs.  I have this listed below.

View our silkworm investigation slideshow below!

Downloadable Resources:
Silkworm Observation Log Book Cover (pdf file)
Silkworm Bar Graph Activity (pdf file)
Silkworm Pictograph Activity (pdf file)

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