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Our Wisconsin charter school uses scientific research and project-based learning as the focus of our curriculum. Project learning is based on a constructivist model of learning that engages you in real-world scholarly activity because you get to chose topics that interest you.
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Teaching Second Graders all about Insects

Posted on October 30, 2012 by Molly Dexter

On October 23rd, the 9th-12th grade students of Wildlands hosted the third annual Second Grade Insect Day here at Beaver Creek Reserve. The second grade class of Augusta Elementary School comes here for a field trip to learn about insects. We choose five different activities that will be both fun and informational for second graders, then get into groups based on who wants to be station leaders, station helpers, and lead the kids between stations. This year, the stations were Build-A-Bug, Aquatic Insects, Insect Hunt, Buzzin' About Bees and Life Cycle of a Bug.

Click Pictures To Enlarge

For Build A Bug, we took the second graders out into the woods to look for materials to "Build A Bug". They collected sticks, acorns, leaves, pinecones, and rocks.

We then put all of their materials on a paper plate and let them decide which bug they wanted to make and how to put it together.

Two second graders help each other build their bugs









Next we helped them glue their bug parts together.

Sarah helps second grader glue his bug together
















Here is an example of a finished bug:

Lady Bug

For Aquatic Insects there were three kid pools filled with water, mud, and leaves from a nearby creek. The second graders were given small cups and scooped around in the pools of water until they scooped up an aquatic insect.

Second grader looks for aquatic insects









Once they found one, they took it into the lab to look at it under a powerful microscope.

Nathaniel Severson helps second grader see insects through microscope










For Insect Hunt, we had two designated spots in the woods where the dirt is rich and insects are likely to be living. As the second graders watched, we poured a special formula (mustard powder and water) on the dirt that makes insects come to the top.

Aly pours mustard powder and water on dirt to make bugs come to surface









Then we let the second graders dig around in it with small spades to try to find insects.

Sam helps second grader find insects in dirt


When they did find an insect, they got really excited and took turns holding them.

Second grader holds worm









For Life Cycle of a Bug, the second graders sat down for a break and they were read a short book about a worm turning into a butterfly.

Aby reads a book to second graders








Next they put on hats that respresented the first stage of life for a butterfly; a caterpillar. They "ate" leaves to help them grow.

Andrew tells the "caterpillars" about the first stage of life for a butterfly.








Buzzin' About Bees represented how bees communicate with one another. One at a time, each second grader chose a slip of paper out of a hat.

Kaitlyn helps a second grader choose a slip of paper.








Each slip of paper had the name of an animal written on it.

A second grader chooses a slip of paper out of the hat








The second grader then acted out the animal they chose out of the hat using actions and sounds for the other second graders to guess.

A second grader acts as a bird for the others to guess









It was a successful and fun Second Grade Buddy Day for everyone. We all really enjoy having the second graders here. It is fun to teach them and see how much fun they have here, and they definitely enjoy coming here and are always enthusiastic to learn!


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In the winter of 2011, Wildlands Charter School students began producing news stories for our website and an electronic email newsletter.

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