The Long Journey of Exploring Ladybugs

School News April 24, 2023
The Long Journey of Exploring Ladybugs

An outdoor experience has strongly stimulated children's curiosity and exploration of insects. 

The children from Angelfish class accidentally found a ladybug resting on the petals that had fallen on the ground and they were fascinated by this special guest. Children all surrounded this little cute ladybug and they were so excited to talk to each other about their findings. "Come and see, I found a ladybug." Where was it? Where was it? One of the children said: "He might be a little tired and needed to rest", and another child said, "He might be hungry and unable to fly". After that, he picked up a leaf from the ground and wanted to feed the ladybug. “He might get lost and he couldn’t find a place to stay.” Another child said. There were many different kinds of speculations and everyone was very curious about this 'unexpected guest'.

When we back to our class, the children were still busy talking about their discovery, and almost all the topics revolved around that little ladybug. The children have been asking lots of questions like "Why do they have black spots on the back?" "Where do they live?" I was deeply touched by the innocent questions and wistful eyes of the children.

Curiosity is an aspect of intrinsic motivation that has great potential to enhance children’s learning. For children of this age, finding their interests and starting with the things they are interested in is more conducive to stimulating their passion of learning and desire for unknown knowledge. So in order to satisfy the curiosity of children, we embarked on a journey to explore the mysteries of the seven-spotted ladybugs through a series of activities to help everyone get to know about seven-spotted ladybugs in deep. 

Visual aids could also help with memory retention which helps children to remember what they have seen and what they have noticed. Therefore, I decided to draw a ladybug based on children's description, and invited them to share more information about ladybugs with others. They could talk about what characteristics do they have, such as the colors, body patterns, facial features, etc. “The seven-spotted ladybug are in red, with seven black dots on their body", "They have wings, feet and a head". Children all came up with different questions. "Any other notices? What's on their head? "Guess how many feet they have, how many pairs of wings?" "What do they feed on?" I asked. Children at this stage needs to be encouraged by us to use their imagination and feel free to express their ideas and thoughts with confidence.

After a few discussions, we looked at a few photos of seven-spotted ladybugs after being enlarged. This time, instead of showing them the cartoon pictures, I deliberately selected some real photos so that children could see the appearance of seven-spotted ladybugs more clearly and in more details. The children were happy to share their little discoveries with everyone. Although everyone was very excited, the children showed great manners during the lesson as they listened carefully while other people was talking and they learnt to wait patiently and respect to each other.

Learning to wait, taking turns, and sharing are all really important aspects of child development . As a teacher, we need help children to understand the importance of taking time to listen, and waiting to speak or responding through languages, and as they are developing their understandings of social cues as well as for their further development in many areas like social skills, concentration, patience and persistence,etc.

We learnt about the body structure of seven-spotted ladybugs, such as they have a black head with white patches on either side, they have chest, abdomen, two pairs of cute little antennae standing on the top of their head, and they also have six short legs (forefoot, middle foot and hind foot). The seven-spotted ladybugs in the real life has soft wings under the elytra, which is a real flying tool. Other than that, we also popularized that the seven-spotted ladybugs is a beneficial insect. Most people like ladybugs because they are pretty, graceful and harmless to people and farmers love them because they eat aphids and other plant-eating pests. The children all said that we need to be friendly to them and not to hurt them. Some children also mentioned that they should protect the environment, flowers and trees, and offer them a warm and safe home.

"Are all ladybugs red with black spots?" "Are all ladybugs classified as beneficial flying insects that kill aphids l?" "The kids had a lively discussion. Instead of answering the child's questions immediately as usual, I read them a story about different species of ladybugs, hoping that the children would find the answer by observing the ladybugs from the book. Afterwards, we had another round of in-depth discussion, and in the process of communication, the children found the answer: it turns out that there are many kinds of ladybugs, not all the ladybugs are red, and not all the ladybugs have black dots. Especially the ladybugs with burrs on their bodies are not very friendly. In fact there are actually some other bugs or beetles that look like ladybugs but aren’t classified as ladybugs like clerid beetle and Colorado potato beetle that destroy crops.

After a stage of learning, children have developed a deeper understanding of different types of ladybugs. So we moved on to the next fun activity – Art creation. This time, the artistic creation is open ended which means that a variety of materials are provided and available for children to choose. They can choose any materials they want to use, how they want to use them and what they want to make. The materials includes clay, colourful pencils, some natural materials like dried leaves, branches, petals and so on. Most of them chose to make a seven-spotted ladybug, and of course they could choose any other kinds of bugs they like. Some children made seven-spotted ladybug’s favourite food, and some children felt that one ladybug was too lonely so they made some butterflies, caterpillars and other small insects among it. Some children also created a home for ladybugs to live.

Art is full of fun,children can unconsciously experience the joy of creation and a sense of achievement. Artistic creation is also a unique way for children to express their emotions, providing children with unlimited imagination space and giving children the opportunity to create. Help improve their hands-on ability, but also good feedback on the child's inner world as well as help children to make sense of the world in their own way. Respecting children's choices and allowing them to be different as each child is unique, and this is essential to boost children's self-confidence. Every child's work deserves our recognition and respect as long as it is taken seriously and put in the effort, then these works are the best. Let give them a big clap for trying really hard on their artwork and being an amazing artist.