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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Backyard Observations

There's a danger when you engage your children in nature study, they may want to do it ALL the time! Three different occasions since our Friday nature walk...

Monarch Butterfly
Camille found a monarch butterfly on the ground and brought it to me. The poor thing's wing was broken so I didn't see the harm in allowing her to hold it. I had her put it back on the milkweed plant we have which has bloomed again since the monarch caterpillars left.


Spider Eggs?
We have a lot of spiders in our yard, Camille noticed there are spider eggs on a handle of their backyard playset. We will be looking at these through the microscope later. The kids have been more in-tune to the spiders in our yard since our nature walk Friday. We suspect these are spider eggs but we are not sure.



The Mystery Bug
Camille observed this bug yesterday, we spent probably an hour looking through the field guides and observing it. This morning, we found two more underneath the playset, one next to a cocoon which we aren't sure belongs to it.

The one Camille found-



Different one, at the playset, an empty cocoon...


We finally found the answer this morning in our field guide, it is a Mantisfly! I kept telling Camille the front of it looked just like a Praying Mantis. We learned about Mantids but not Mantisflies during our invertebrate studies.




Tracy said...

Cool! I have lived in the south most of my life and never seen one of those! Neat spider eggs too!

Dangie said...

Wow! Neat bug pictures! We've had so much fun with bugs this fall as well! It is neat to watch dd's awe of nature being nurtured!

Paige said...

What great nature photos! Nature study is addicting!

Mama to 3 all-boy boys said...

Great picture, Jessica. What an interesting bug, too.

Jonnia said...

Great photos! I've never heard of or seen a mantisfly till this post.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jessica,

Love your post. We (1st grader, 3 year old and 1 year old) are about to jump into doing nature studies ourselves. We've been primarily concentrating on reading, writing and math. I have a question ... if you had to throw away all of your books you use during your nature study except for two ... which two books would you keep? I'm having a tough time deciding which ones to get. I hope your answer helps!

Jessica said...

Considering the books we have, I can only pick two???

Um, do field guides count? Our National Audubon Society Insects & Spiders field guide has been invaluable, I am SO glad that bought it instead of relying on the First Peterson guide.

Other than field guides I would say The Handbook of Nature Study by Comstock and the Amateur Naturalist. We're about to add a little structure to our nature studies, so far it's been we go out and observe and come back home to learn more. I think we're going to focus on one topic at a time and see how it goes.

We'll probably rejoin Barb at in her Outdoor Hours for topics.

I just looked at i love dirt from the library and it's organized by season, but it's for someone just beginning to get out there.

I hope this helps, I'd rather have great field guides than anything else though. :)

School for Us said...

A mantisfly, huh? Thanks for adding to my insect knowledge. Neat looking insect!