Thursday, 9 October 2014


Have You Seen the Woolly Bear Caterpillar?

The Spark:

The middle of October is drawing nearer and these most interesting tiny creature can be seen scampering on the ground in nature.  It's the woolly bear caterpillar!  Careful!  You'll have to watch your step or you'll miss one as they scamper across the path at your feet.  Try not to step on them because the woolly bear caterpillars are on a mission.  Their mission:  To find a warm winter retreat under a rock, log or a piece of wood.  Follow one to see where it goes.  They sure seem to be in a hurry to get there.  

Wonderings, Hunches, Creative Thoughts, Ideas, Up-close Observations

1.  The Woolly Bear Hypothesis (Myth and Storytelling):

There is an old myth that goes something like this...  As the autumn months draw on, the sight of these tiny creatures predicts the arrival of winter.  The more woolly bears we see, the faster we should expect the cold weather to arrive.  If you are able to observe a group of them, you will take note that they have black and brown bands of coloured needles on their body.  The more dark bands they have the colder the coming winter and the fewer dark bands means that the winter will be mild.  Also, the thickness of the dark bands is said to be important.  The thicker the band the harsher the weather.  

How many woolly bear caterpillars can you find?
Make a graph that shows how many dark bands you counted on each.
Make another graph that shows how many caterpillars had thick bands.

2.  Make Observations in the Woolly Bear Caterpillar Science Laboratory:

If you would like to collect a few woolly bear caterpillars for observation, please be mindful to return them back to the exact spot where you found them so that they can quickly get back to the work at hand... finding a warm abode to overwinter in.

3.  The Woolly Bear Caterpillar Creative Journal:

4.  The Woolly Caterpillar Predicts Winter Weather:  


Based on the information you have gathered from your observations above, can you predict the coming winter weather?

Will the coming winter weather be cold or mild?  What do you think?
Make a prediction.  

What you will need:
1 string
2 eye hooks at the top of the wall to tread the string
3  tags with the children's names on each at the top of the string
4  tiny eye hooks as weights to be tied to the end of the string
5  each child should find a woolly bear caterpillar

5.  Let's explore Cryogenics and Freezing:

Click on the connection below to view video:

6.  Creative endeavours (arts and crafts):

Make a woolly bear caterpillar with pipe cleaners use brown and black to create the dark and light bands.  How many dark bands and how thick will they be?  

Use these pipe cleaner woolly bear caterpillars in the coming mapping project.

7. Let's explore habitat (social studies, geography):

Where did you find your woolly bear caterpillar?  Woodland, marsh, grassland, forest, park, hillside...
Map out the natural areas in your community according to the above noted groupings.  Use your woolly bear caterpillars made from pipe cleaners and pin them on the spot where you found them.  What kind of habitat will your caterpillar over-winter in?  Where will he find his home?



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