Category Archives: science

The Praying Mantis

I found a praying mantis yesterday and brought it to school today. We all were excited to create a habitat for observation of our new friend.


We gave it sticks to climb, moss to stand on, and misted it with water. We learned how to hunt for the best crickets on the playground! Then we watched him eat…

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Click these links for video of our praying mantis eating a cricket and then cleaning his face like a cat!



Observing like scientists

We have been exploring how scientists learn. They use their five senses and we do too!

Yesterday we played a sound guessing game and used our sense of hearing to solve the mystery sounds.

Today, we learned how to use hand magnifiers, then used them to explore 22 different interesting science objects. It was fun and our scientists can’t wait to do it again!



Wheel Bug Excitement

Remember our wheel bug that laid eggs in our critter cage?

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Well, we came back to school one day to see this:


These wheel bug babies were small enough to fit right through the critter cage, so I had them climb on a pencil and shook them down into a different container. I am sure that none escaped.

Wheel bugs were not made to winter over, so we knew there was nothing for these babies to feed upon. They all died over the weekend, but we did enjoy observing their life cycle and learning so much about this interesting insect.

Wheel Bug – up close

The wheel bug has armor that is shaped like a wheel or cog. It also has a long tube from its mouth called a beak. It uses its beak to feed on other insects. The wheel bug overwinters as eggs. What should we do with ours?

Here are some photos taken from our digital microscope from this interesting insect.

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wheel bug 10x

check out the beak and wheel!


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We couldn’t fit the lid of our cage under the microscope to view the eggs, so I had to hold the microscope VERY STILL with my hands. Luckily, Zyan was able to snap the photos from the smartboard right when I got it into focus. We are problem-solvers in first grade, for sure!

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eggs from side eggs from the side

Our Wheel Bug

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photo permission by  C. Colby

We recently found a wheel bug and got a chance to learn about and observe this interesting insect. A friend and parent of a former student also spotted one the same day. Her photo was great and she shared it with me. Thanks, Mrs. Colby!

Wheel bugs are one of the largest true bugs in North America, growing up to 1.5 inches long. They are helpful insects, but have a painful bite, so do not handle these insects!

They have a ‘beak’ which they insert into soft-bodied prey and insert a paralyzing and dissolving liquid. Then they drink up all the insides of their prey. Yikes! I’m glad I taped down our critter cage lid with clear packing tape!

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We found out that their life-cycle is short. They hatch in April or May and molt 5 times before the summer. In autumn, the wheel bug lays 40-200 eggs. The second day we observed our wheel bug, we found the eggs she had laid. How exciting! Once the wheel bug lays her eggs, she dies. We watched this sad process all day, but understood that it was part of the cycle of this bug’s life.

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I will post more about this bug when we looked at her body and eggs under the digital microscope.