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Second-Graders Create Butterfly Museum

Second-grade students studied the life cycle of the butterfly in science this quarter. Not only did they apply what they learned in the classroom, they also completed projects at home, in art, music and physical education classes and in the technology lab, to demonstrate what they have learned. Students developed and installed a butterfly museum with consultant Peg Koetsch. Then Phil Poska, Chris Zukoski, Ellen Harrison, Andrea Cetlin, and Chrisine Wang, second-grade teachers; and Brent Weingard, physical education teacher; Lynn Lewis and Jonathan Roth, art teachers; and Pete Frassrand, music teacher, worked closely with Koetsch to plan and implement this project.

Music wafts through the hallway when you visit the museum. A second-grade tour guide is ready to explain the different projects in this artful exhibit. You walk through an ivy-covered doorway to enter the world of butterflies. If you stop by one area, you, too, can make a stained glass butterfly. In another center, students will teach you how to make origami butterflies, and you can also write poetry in the form of diamantes, or haiku.

In the technology lab, students had created webs of the life cycle and quizzes for visitors to attempt. Don’t worry if you don’t get the answer correct. The quiz immediately gives you another opportunity to try again. Check out the camouflage butterflies or a life cycle of the butterfly in noodle shapes. Students studied symmetry, when they made sure that each side of the butterfly was equal to the other side. They read the story “The Caterpillar and the Polliwog,” and they completed story maps using problems, solutions, and characters.

Not only did students master science objectives; they also learned to sing the butterfly song in tune with the right timbre, diction and posture. They explored the elements of dance by using their bodies in different ways. Illustrators such as Eric Carle inspired their artwork.

Students worked with artists from the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and a video of the their talk show is on display in the museum as are other arts lessons from the specialists at Potomac. Cedric Goode said, “I learned that the caterpillar was actually shedding into a chrysalis.”

Rachel Lee Dixon said, “I liked writing the questions for the butterfly quiz.”

Janice Dudley, Katie Fuller’s mom, said, “This is one of the best exhibits I have ever seen.”

These students developed and installed a museum; as docents they interpreted the museums to the other students in the school; and they made the connections between problem-solving activities with the real world. This is a truly integrated arts experience with science, language arts, mathematics and the arts all woven into this exciting second-grade museum.

Stay tuned for the fifth-grade Colonial museum grand opening in December.