Sep 17 2020

Week of 9/14-9/18

This week we learned the 5 steps of asking questions in a scientific way. Check Schoology for the following important items:

  • Asking Questions Notes
  • (Date) Zoom & (Date) Asynchronous Assignment (Blue Hands Scenario) ** Dates vary by section, sorry for the confusion!
    • Parts 1 2 3 completed in class
    • Parts 4 & 6 completed asynchronously using “Parts 4 and 5 Video”
  • Soft Skills Survey Assignment (asynchronous)
  • Red Punch Assignment (completed in class)
  • 1st, 2nd and 3rd hour only: Asking Questions Practice (will be completed in class 9/18)

By dinner time tonight, I should have the grade book completely updated on Student Connect. It would be a good idea to log in tonight or tomorrow to check your grade and look for missing assignments which will have blank scores. ** If you are resubmitting a missing assignment please let me know by email which one you submitted so that I can go back and look for it. Thank you!

Sep 8 2020

9/8 A DAY

Zoom sessions this morning went really well. If you are still struggling, here are some tips for success:

  • Keep a written or printed copy of your classes and the A and B day schedules. I like to keep mine on a card with A on one side and B on the other, filled in with all of my classes. I added “Blank Schedule Template” to the Resources folder in all of my Science classes which is great if you have a printer!
  • Check your email and Schoology for Zoom links early in the morning to see if they are already there for you. I actually keep a doc in my Drive called “Week at a Glance” and I use it like a schedule except I also copy and paste links into it as I get them so that I can find them easily when it’s time to use them.
  • The number for the tech department is 313-827-3003 if you are still having trouble. Teachers are only trained to troubleshoot very basic problems but the tech department can usually help if we can’t!

Asynchronous sessions begin at 12:10. Log in to your 4th hour teacher FIRST. Their work needs to be done by 1:05 in order to be marked present for the day! Then work on 5th hour, which has to be done by 2:05, and then 6th hour which has to be done by 3:10.

Sep 7 2020

Week of Sept 8-11

We are in for an exciting week this week as we finally have a chance to meet all of our students on Zoom in the mornings!

Just to summarize the week for you:

  • Tuesday: A day
    • AM / Synchronous: Get on Zoom
      • 8:15-8:40 A2
      • 8:45-9:40 1st hour
      • 9:45-10:40 2nd hour
      • 10:45-11:40 3rd hour
    • Lunch 11:40-12:10
    • PM / Asynchronous: Get on Schoology
      • 12:10-1:05 4th hour
      • 1:10-2:05 5th hour
      • 2:10-3:10 6th hour
  • Wednesday: B day
    • AM / Synchronous: Get on Zoom
      • 8:15-8:40 A2
      • 8:45-9:40 6th hour
      • 9:45-10:40 5th hour
      • 10:45-11:40 4th hour
    • Lunch 11:40-12:10
    • PM Asynchronous: Get on Schoology
      • 12:10-1:05 3rd hour
      • 1:10-2:05 2nd hour
      • 2:10-3:10 1st hour
  • Thursday: A day
    • AM / Synchronous: Get on Zoom
      • 8:15-8:40 A2
      • 8:45-9:40 1st hour
      • 9:45-10:40 2nd hour
      • 10:45-11:40 3rd hour
    • Lunch 11:40-12:10
    • PM / Asynchronous: Get on Schoology
      • 12:10-1:05 4th hour
      • 1:10-2:05 5th hour
      • 2:10-3:10 6th hour
  • Friday: B day
    • AM / Synchronous: Get on Zoom
      • 8:15-8:40 A2
      • 8:45-9:40 6th hour
      • 9:45-10:40 5th hour
      • 10:45-11:40 4th hour
    • Lunch 11:40-12:10
    • PM Asynchronous: Get on Schoology
      • 12:10-1:05 3rd hour
      • 1:10-2:05 2nd hour
      • 2:10-3:10 1st hour
Bitmoji Image

Jul 28 2020

It’s a girl!

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I can tell from their bottom wings whether they are male or female. Males have pretty obvious black dots on one portion of their wings that contain the hormones that help them attract mates, and females do not. This one has no dots.

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She was still dripping fluid and not quite ready to fly off. I placed her on a flower in my garden where she can have a sip of nectar and dry her wings for as long as she wants until she’s ready to take off in flight. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Jul 28 2020

Exciting Day!

That chrysalis I’ve been watching and posting about is going to eclose tonight. Eclose is the word used to describe the butterfly bursting out of its chrysalis. I know this because the green color of the chrysalis has gone clear and you can actually see the butterfly crumpled up inside of it.

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How cool is that?!

I don’t know exactly when… just that it will be soon. Usually it happens right after my phone dies, or right when I go into the other room to grab something. They are rascals like that.

When it opens, the butterfly will cling to the chrysalis with its legs and hang. Right now its belly is full of all the liquids the caterpillar made from eating so much before its transformation. All those liquids will get pumped into the butterfly’s wings, causing them to stretch out to full size. Then, any extra liquid will drip off of the butterfly and the butterfly will need to air-dry. That whole process takes a couple of hours.

I will know the butterfly is ready when it stops hanging from the chrysalis. Sometimes they walk around on the lid of the enclosure. Sometimes, if they are really rascally, they will try to fly around the tank. That is dangerous because the butterfly could tear a wing trying to do that. I always keep a very close watch on them because as soon as they are ready, it’s time to let them go outside!

I will know this butterfly’s gender once it stretches out its wings. ๐Ÿ™‚

As for our two caterpillars… it’s cleaning day. They have stripped this plant down to its stem, which they are happily munching on now. They do prefer leaves, usually, so today I will put a new stem in and put down fresh paper towel. I will also check on the dozens of eggs I have in there.

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I actually have their condiment cup tucked inside of a large McDonald’s cup to keep them safe. Big caterpillars don’t have good eyesight, and if they go to eat the leaves the babies / eggs are on, they often will eat the babies / eggs as they go. ๐Ÿ™ It’s important to keep them separated.

Jul 26 2020

Getting Bigger!

Our babies just entered their 3rd Instar. I forgot to take a picture of them before yesterday’s shed. I swear, they almost double in size overnight after a shed. Remember, previous pictures they were about the size of the pencil eraser.

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The chrysalis looks the same. When it starts to turn dark I will take a photo of it to show you. Then of course, the butterfly!

I also have another caterpillar that I found when gathering leaves who is looking around for the spot he will choose to make his chrysalis.

Jul 21 2020

Update

Between yesterday and today I found 24 more eggs in my garden!

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Can you spot the 4 eggs visible in this picture?

I clip a little bit off of the bottom of the leaves to make the “stem” long enough to put through holes punched in the lid of this condiment cup of water. Sometimes I don’t clip the leaf off especially if the egg is really far down, like the darkest leaf you see here.

I don’t throw away the clippings if I have caterpillars, though. They aren’t picky. They just like fresh leaves! They stay fresh for a day or two after being clipped up like this and the caterpillars will eat some of it up so that it’s not wasted. ๐Ÿ™‚

So that leads me to the next part of my routine. The leafs from our other tiny caterpillars and the cup they are stuck in are in need of cleaning. Look how gross…

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The caterpillars have eaten holes all throughout the leaves, leaving not much for them to eat off of it anymore. Some of the leaves are crunchy and useless. The water is gross because their frass (or poop!) has fallen into the holes of the lid into the water and stained it murky brown. Also, the leaves are not meant to stay in water for a long time… they began to rot. Every few days, I take out all my condiment cups and clean them out.

I take off any leftover milkweed. Sometimes I have to really check it all to make sure there’s no caterpillars hiding in it. These caterpillars I knew for sure were big enough to see so I just grabbed the branch and placed it on top of my clippings.

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Since they are just clippings off of leaves there is no reason to put them in water. Sometime later this week when these clippings are eaten or dried up, I will grab a couple of full leaves from my garden and trim them and put them in water to feed the caterpillars from.

At some point as they get larger, they will eat a whole leaf within a few minutes, and then it’s not necessary to put the leaves in water. Actually, when I get caterpillars out of those 24 eggs, they will eat through the milkweed so fast that I could put an entire plant in there and it will be eaten up in no time at all!

Jeff and I are taking the kids up to northern Michigan in about a week. By the time this group of eggs’ caterpillars are big enough to eat that much I will be out of town. I will take them with me and thankfully, up north, there is TONS of milkweed! It is native to Michigan and spreads easily by root and by seeds so you will see it all along the highways and roads up north, and alongside all of the lakes.

The road to ensuring a future filled with monarchs | U.S. Fish and ...
Up north the native milkweed will look like this. It does not get mowed frequently so the plant has a chance to flower.

Actually, you see milkweed all along the highways here, too. Since those areas don’t get treated with pesticides, the milkweed survives really easily. It only gets mowed once in a while, too. Great habitat for butterflies!

It’s really easy to find up north though, like you can see above, and I’ll have plenty of food to offer them without ruining the plants in my yard. ๐Ÿ™‚

Finally, I snapped a picture from standing above my aquarium. I know it’s hard to see, but 3 stages out of 4 of the stages of their life cycle are in my tank right now. Eggs, larvae (caterpillars) and pupa (chrysalis). Here is the complete life cycle:

The Science of Monarchs โ€” Chautauqua Bird Tree & Garden Club

And here is my tank:

1: Eggs 2: Larvae / Caterpillars 3: Pupa / Chrysalis
Jul 18 2020

Caterpillar Updates

The big caterpillar who was hanging in J has now shed its last exoskeleton and hardened into a chrysalis. My friend named it Daphne which is a character who undergoes a metamorphosis in her Greek myth. There’s no way to know whether the caterpillar is male or female until it emerges as a butterfly, but I think even if it’s a male, the name Daphne is just fine.

In the picture you can clearly still see the white silk button which is holding the chrysalis to the mesh lid of the enclosure. You can also see the limb that the caterpillar used to attach itself to the button, called the cremaster. It’s more obvious now. It looks like a little stem. The butterfly parts have actually already been generated in there, and are going to take the next 8-12 days or so to mature. From this angle, you can see the abdomen (stomach) of the butterfly above the black line. The faint lines are already there.

After the first week, I will start checking on the chrysalis daily to look for a color change. Right now the chrysalis is bright green. Once its metamorphosis begins to come to an end, it will begin to darken until eventually the chrysalis looks completely black, and then for a few hours you will be able to see the pattern of the wings right through the chrysalis walls.

Once he or she is ready, he will force its way out of the chrysalis and then drop down to hang from it. They do this so that they can pump all the fluid from its body into its wings, making them expand, and then the rest of the fluid will drip off so that the butterfly can be light enough to fly. That process takes several hours but hopefully I will catch it in time to take photos! In my experience, they do this at really weird hours and I almost always miss it. I usually just wake up to a whole butterfly in the enclosure ready to take flight.

As for the babies… unfortunately it appears that only two of them survived hatching. This is pretty normal. They die for many reasons and most of the reasons are unknown. I’ve even had caterpillars wander off of the plants completely and not be able to find their way back. As much as I do to help them, sometimes they just don’t make it… and that’s okay. I’m still doing them a favor by providing them with food and shelter because I can make sure it’s not a predator that gets to them.

Most of my friends do not count how many eggs they bring in or how many newly hatched caterpillars they have. They are too small and too unstable. Most of my friends wait until the caterpillars are about as big as mine are now.

I used the end of a pencil here to give you an idea about how big the caterpillars are. From nose to buns, this caterpillar is about as long as a pencil eraser! The other caterpillar in the picture at the top of the left leaf is a tiny bit smaller.

These are the the leafs their eggs were laid on. You can see especially on the leaf the pencil is touching that the caterpillars have made good progress eating their way through that food source! When I raise from eggs, I always leave the eggs I found leafs on in the enclosure for as long as possible in case there are tiny little caterpillars that I didn’t see. Since I have the leafs in a condiment cup with water, they are still fresh for the caterpillars for now. The water is getting a little bit cruddy now, which is fine because over the next day or two I will add fresh food for them. I just like to know for sure that there are no baby caterpillars hiding out in the old leaves before I take them out. ๐Ÿ™‚

I will probably wait a week or so for the next update. The caterpillars are going to spend most of the next three weeks eating, growing, shedding, and repeating until they get as big as the other caterpillar I found! They have an exoskeleton which means they don’t have bones — their structure is formed from their outer skin which gives them shape and protection. (Also why they are unfortunately so easy to squish.) When they get too big for their outer skin, they shed it and form a new one that gives them some room to grow. Think of it like how you got a new pair of shoes every year when you were a kid, because your feet kept growing. Each shed or molt marks the end of one part of their growth cycle, called an instar. These caterpillars are in their first instar. I will try to post an update when they move on to their second. Until then, it’s just a waiting game!

I'm waiting
Jul 17 2020

Metamorphosis

Metamorphosis is when a creature changes form from one thing to another. In the butterfly life cycle, it’s when the caterpillar becomes a butterfly.

The large caterpillar I found in my garden is ready for its metamorphosis.

When they are large caterpillars, they eat a seemingly endless amount of food for a few days to get as much fuel for this metamorphosis as possible. During the change they go through, they have no way to get fuel. In fact, even butterflies do not “eat” ever again. They will drink nectar from plants which provides quick moisture and energy to give the butterfly strength to fly, but no nutrients to keep the butterfly alive for a long period of time.

My caterpillar has been happily munching on a piece of a milkweed plant that broke when I was collecting eggs, and then on the flower buds that formed on another plant. (Gardening tip: if you want a bigger, leafier plant, you need to cut off flower heads so that the plant will stop spending its energy on flowering and deliver that energy to forming more green parts instead.) Last night, it climbed to the roof of the aquarium I store my caterpillars in and searched out a spot on the mesh lid to begin its transition.

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Over the course of several hours, the caterpillar uses its mouth to create a silky web. In nature it might be on a stem or a leaf… but inside the aquarium the mesh lid is almost always where my caterpillars go to do this.

You can see the web in this picture. Us butterfly enthusiasts call it a “button.” Once the caterpillar is done making its button, they attach their back end to it with a sort of limb called a cremaster. Then they slowly let go of the mesh from all sets of their feet and hang, like you see in this picture. We say that the caterpillar is in “J” formation because they look like a J.

In all of the resources I’ve read, I’ve never read about why caterpillars do this… but they hang like this for about 24 hours before they shed and harden into a chrysalis for their metamorphosis. My best guess is that they are resting because that final shed of their exoskeleton is really difficult!

Look for an update later on today or tomorrow once this caterpillar has shed and made its chrysalis!

Jul 14 2020

Look who I found~!

I was out weeding the garden and stumbled upon this fella. I’d say he or she will be going into a chrysalis sometime this week!

Image may contain: Renee Marie, outdoor

I also found another egg before I got too hot and had to come back inside.

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