I am a first grade teacher at a semi-rural school in Indiana. We are a relatively small school-approximately 350 students K-5.
First graders love science! They are naturally curious about everything, but especially the natural world around them. In the spring, we learn about insects and spiders through an inquiry based science unit. To build interest and foster curiosity, I begin the unit with a free exploration of insect models. Currently I only have plastic models of insects for students to examine. I would really like to have real specimens for students to look at and talk about, but such specimens are very expensive.
In addition, I have requested a class set of the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar. This classic story illustrates the life cycle of a butterfly. The simple text and outstanding illustrations are a crowd pleaser every year. I would like a class set so that all of my students can hold the book and enjoy it at the same time instead of crowding together to get a good look at the single copy I have as a read aloud.
The use of real insect specimens will make the entire exploration more realistic and meaningful for my students. They will be able to see the actual size, shape, and coloration of each insect. The plastic models I have work OK for sparking students' interest, but they are far from realistic. I think the experience would be far richer is students were to examine real insects.
Having a class set of The Very Hungry Caterpillar will enhance our insect study by allowing the unit to expand into our literacy time. The story is so beloved that students beg to read it over and over. Multiple copies of this story will allow students to look closely at the illustrations and learn from them. Students will also be able to work on fluency and expression as they read the story over and over again. Multiple copies of The Very Hungry Caterpillar will also permit students to borrow the book and take it home to read and enjoy with their families.
Your generosity will provide the materials I need to capture students' curiosities and encourage scientific questioning and research. The specimens and book set will take an already great science unit and make it a stellar science unit that my students are sure to remember for years to come.
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