Objective: Children will explore ladybugs, including their life cycle, and make ladybug prints.
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Note: Prior to the start of the lesson, place the ladybugs in the containers, and punch tiny holes in the lids. Add the mushroom slices to each container to keep the ladybugs active during the exploration.
The life cycle of a ladybug is very similar to the life cycle of a butterfly. Both insects go through what is called a complete metamorphosis. Stage 1 is when the egg is laid; the eggs hatch in 3–5 days. Stage 2, the larva stage, lasts 20–30 days, and they eat a tremendous amount of food—mostly aphids. A larva looks very different from an adult ladybug. In Stage 3, the larva becomes a pupa. In this stage, the larva excretes a substance that hardens, and then the larva pupates, or goes through its final change, inside that hard covering. In 3–12 days, the adult ladybug will emerge; this is the fourth and final stage of development. The complete metamorphosis of a ladybug lasts between 4 and 8 weeks.
When the ladybug first emerges from its hard covering, it will have a soft pink shell for several hours. As the shell hardens, it usually becomes bright red. However, not all ladybugs are red, and not all ladybugs have spots! Scientists believe that the bright colors and spots are meant to let birds know not to eat them because they taste bad. Ladybugs are very helpful in the garden because they eat garden pests like aphids that can destroy other plants. Most ladybugs live about 1 year and can eat up to 5,000 aphids in their lifetime!
These lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards ("CCSS"). The CCSS provide a consistent, clear understanding of the concepts and skills children are expected to learn and guide teachers to provide their students with opportunities to gain these important skills and foundational knowledge.
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There are currently no Common Core Standards for pre-k, but these lessons are aligned as closely as possible to capture the requirements and meet the goals of Common Core Standards. However, these lessons were neither reviewed or approved by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices or the Council of Chief State School Officers, which together are the owners and developers of the Common Core State Standards.