Today was one of those days when you have a perfectly good lesson plan written, and suddenly a great teaching moment lands in your lap, so you scrap your lesson plans and watch the students soar as learners.
One of my students came in with his mom and a jar with what looked like a bunch of leaves in it. She told me that they had found this horn worm on their tomato plants, and decided to bring it in to share with the class.
I planned on just having the student share his little "friend" during our sharing portion of our morning meeting, but I would have never guessed that my students would be so intrigued! They started asking a billion and one questions and even asked if we could do some research about the horn worm (which has a horn at it's bottom that gives it its name - we had quite the discussion deciding whether it was its head or its bottom, but when it started eating we knew the answer).
Then they decided to do some research on the computers about the tomato horn worm. They checked out these two sites: VegEdge and Wikipedia. They also loved watching this video on youtube.
We talked about how gardeners might not like these worms on their plants as much as we liked learning about them.
It was amazing how many different ways the students responded to the hornworm in our classroom. Some of them approached their learning as artists, drawing pictures of the hornworm.
Some of the students responded as scientists formulating a list of questions they could discover and research.
This little guy lying on the carpet saw me with the camera and said, "Quick! Mrs. Malloy has the camera! Camouflage - blend in like the worm!"
We wrapped up our fun-filled learning day by writing thank you letters to the student and his mom for bringing in the horn worm for us to learn about!
All in all, this was one of my best teaching days ever- the kids were completely engaged from morning until afternoon (we actually worked past the bell and had to scramble to leave!). One of my older boys came into my class this day because he left his lunch at home and commented about how busy all of the students were. "It was a whirlwind of activity!" he said.
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