Friday, February 27, 2009

Chopsticks and Mating

This week we had two exciting events in the second grade.

One was a field trip to Chinatown, where we learned about immigration, affordable housing issues, murals, and activism. We also went out to lunch together, 43 kids and assorted adults.

In preparation for going out to lunch, we taught some lessons on how to eat in a restaurant. How to put your napkin on your lap, the pleasantries involved in ordering food, what to do if some of the food is not to your liking, and, of course, how to use chopsticks. We practiced on macaroni and cheese and broccoli (school lunch).

The chopsticks were quite an adventure. It's a tricky business, the use of chopsticks. One or two girls were so good at it that they were congratulated by the staff of the restaurant. Others persevered for a long time, but I think got a total of one noodle in their mouths, until I suggested kindly that they switch over to forks. I admired their persistence.

Besides Chinatown, there was exciting action in Ladybug Land. Namely, sex. Yep, today we took out the ladybug habitat to find two ladybugs (who emerged as adults from their pupa over vacation last week) tightly clasped together. I was very excited, and followed them around with my camera as they scurried (yes, scurried, still while connected) about. No privacy for these two.

I'm not sure what my kids thought of it. "They're mating!" I exclaimed. "They're meeting?" someone asked. "No," I answered. "Mating!"

"What does that mean?" I was asked, a number of times.

"It means the male is fertilizing the eggs so they can have babies," I answered. Some of my students gave me bemused smiles, others smirked, and still others watched the copulation in silent, wide-eyed wonder. Prima said she hoped there would be a doctor in the habitat, for when the babies are born. She was so inspired by the whole event that she and Jayna spontaneously set about composing a book about ladybug life cycles.

"Who is on top?" someone asked. "The male or the female?" I wasn't sure (now I know it's the male), and I felt a little funny engaging in a conversation about who was on top with 8-year-olds. But when they laughed, I giggled with them. I mean, come on. Ladybug sex is funny. And very cool.

Finally, here is one milkweed bug (they are getting so big!) amongst a collection of exoskeletons that have been discarded over the past weeks. The habitats are littered with exoskeletons.

1 comment:

  1. That sounds like an amazing way to top off a field trip -- with a special lunch. How awesome!

    Also, it sounds like your study of insects is just going so well -- I want to come learn with you all. ♥