Tag 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?

eggs 10x


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.

wheel wheel 10x

wheel bug 10x

check out the beak and wheel!


beak beak 10x


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!

eggs 10xeggs 10x

eggs 60xeggs 60x

eggs from side eggs from the side

Our Wheel Bug

photo 3

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!

photo 1

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.

photo 2

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


Pumpkin Patch trip




We had such a great time at the Pumpkin Patch this week. We studied all about the parts of the pumpkin, the pumpkin life cycle, and then experienced it all out on the farm. We took many pictures and videos – all posted on our web page. See below for links and enjoy!

1194984146175437061zucca_architetto_frances_01.svg.med Click here for photos.

1194984146175437061zucca_architetto_frances_01.svg.medClick here for videos.

A Fly in my Eye by Sofia and her friends

sofia gnat

Today at recess a gnat got in Sofia’s eye. She went to the nurse and the nurse said to keep rubbing it. It worked! The gnat came out later.



compound eye

We decided to look through the microscope to see Sofia’s gnat. We could see the compound eyes, the wings, the back and the whole body.


We liked looking through the microscope. Sofia did not like getting a gnat in her eye.

An Autumn Walk

As part of our science study about the seasons, the Wonderful Ones painted pictures. They worked hard to incorporate what we learned about the colors in fall, what animals are doing, what people might be doing, and the changes we see with plants.

I took close-ups of important parts of their paintings. See what autumn looks like to our first grade students.


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Toys in Motion

We have been discovering about force, motion, and energy for the last two weeks.

We ended our science study with several days of experiments with toys to discover what motion they have: straight, circular, or back and forth.

We used a data collection sheet to write and draw our information we were learning, then we talked about our results.

 Click here to watch our video!

Pumpkin, Pumpkin

We have been reading books and studying plants to help us understand the life cycle of the pumpkin. This week we cut the top off a pumpkin and poured in some soil.

We hope the seeds inside will sprout, giving us a good look at the root system, the seed leaves, and more! We will keep you posted.

We made life cycle projects over the last two days and some students practiced their story-telling and performed on video. Enjoy!

What Dissolves?

Our class has been studying the properties of three states of matter: solids, liquids, and gases. We mixed different liquids together to see what would happen. Some would mix, some would not.

We tried to dissolve some solids into liquids. Some would dissolve, some would not.

Thanks to Casey for helping us with our experiments!

We can be scientists!

We have been exploring ways that we can be scientists by using our 5 senses, simple tools, and our curiosity.We took some time this week to study some interesting objects with our eyes, hand magnifiers, and our digital microscope.

We hope you will like our voicethread explaining what we saw. Please add your ideas – we would love to hear from you.

What’s bugging you this summer?

I have seen a lot of interesting bugs recently!

It started yesterday when one was hitching a ride on the window of my car. I was driving, but slowed down to take a picture of this beetle.

car bug

I couldn’t identify him because he fell off before I got home. I have tried my field guides, but no luck.

Then on our screen door this morning, there was this beautiful moth. My field guide was no help, so I went to my computer.

window bug

I found out this is called the Giant Leopard Moth. Can you see how it got its’ name? I love the black and white legs of this moth, too.

I finally found a web site that has a pretty easy identification guide. It is called bug guide.net . There is a clickable guide on the left – just choose the closest looking thing to your insect body.

I also found this today on a plant in the yard. Actually there were three of these busy eating the leaves. I left them, because I think that is a weed. It’s okay with me if they eat it.
It is a Banded Net-Winged Beetle.  I also used the site Insects of West Virginia to help me find the common name of this beetle.

plant bug

I know you all are curious. Find an interesting insect and don’t let it bug you! Grab a photo, a parent, a guide book, or use the computer resources I have listed.

Let me know what you find!



permission by flickrcc

I’ll admit it – spiders make me nervous.

So when Joseph brings a spider out of his pocket today while saying “Can we look at this spider under the microscope?”, I know that I had a nervous look on my face!

But, I am the teacher… so I got Joseph to put the (dead) spider in a slide case with a lid and we explored it anyway. Because I am the teacher…

Here’s what we found!


spider head

spider leg