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An Unexpected Teaching Moment

I was out on the playground last week when I heard three girls screaming behind me. They were digging in the sand, building Mount Everest, when an insect flew down and plopped in front of them. I hurried over to see what all the fuss was about and found a moth hobbling in the sand. In my opinion, the moth look scared and wanted to bury itself in the sand probably to get away from all the noise

More and more students were coming over to see all the commotion. The students were pushing and jumping to see the moth. I somehow got the moth onto a leaf. I asked the girls who originally found the moth to take him inside to the classroom so we can place him in a container. It was near the end of recess and we eventually met the girls in the classroom.

To my surprise, the girls had already found a small plastic cup to put the moth in. They had found a cup with small counters in. They dumped the counters out on the table and put the moth inside. I was impressed that they figured out where to put the moth that I wasn't even thinking about the counters all over the place. As the students were washing hands and drinking water, I put the moth at each table so all the students could see the moth.

I then started getting questions about the moth. To be perfectly honest, I do not know a lot about moths. I asked the teacher next door to me if she knew anything but she didn't know either. Instead she had a book about moths and she let us borrow it. I let the three girls who found the moth, take magnified glasses and the book, and allowed them to become scientists.

The girls worked together and studied the moth. They compared it to the moths in the book and found one that was similar to the one they found. As they were being scientist, the rest of us used Google to see if we could find anything. We found one moth that looked similar and read information on it. We had a lot of fun doing research on the moth. At the end of the day, I allowed one of the girls to take it home. I feel that even though it was an unexpected teaching moment, the students will remember it and maybe use the same skills when they find something later in life.


Hi Christina, what a great teaching moment! It seems like your kids are really interested. Did you think about extending the moth investigation to a project? http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=11835

That's awesome. We introduced ladybugs to the class today and they had a great time releasing them into the garden. They were very gentle with them and brought up a lot of prior knowledge about ladybugs and bugs in general.

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