Cedar Point Elementary School Caterpillars On Camera

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Provided by Prince William County Schools (PWCS)

A third-grade class at Cedar Point Elementary School brought virtual learning to life using GoPro cameras to capture caterpillars’ metamorphosis on screen.

Stephanie Reeder, third grade teacher at Cedar Point Elementary, said, “Teaching goes beyond just the basic details of classwork. We learn better by being able to experience the world around us and apply things we’ve learned to bring those new ideas to life. Since the caterpillar goes through two extreme changes, once when turning into a chrysalis, and then again when metamorphosing into a butterfly, I thought it would be great to capture both of these events using time-lapse photography using my GoPro Camera.”

Reeder used the life cycle of Monarch butterflies to integrate mathematics, language arts, science, and other subjects to motivate students to learn through observation. For the past decade, at the end of the summer season, Reeder has walked to the milkweed plants in her neighborhood in search of what she calls “little teaching subjects, Monarch caterpillars.”

The milkweed serves as both a home and source of food for the caterpillars. This year, she collected seven caterpillars to share with her class. Having the caterpillars as live subjects the students could observe had a great impact on learning and building their classroom community.

Over the next couple of weeks, the students began each school day following the progress of the caterpillars, making a note of the changes, and documenting their results. The class watched several science videos and read books about the life cycle of caterpillars and their metamorphosis. The class measured the caterpillars in standard and non-standard units, looked at the migration patterns of butterflies on maps, and even wrote fiction stories about a caterpillar that temporarily went missing.

“The caterpillar/butterfly theme has taken on a life of its own,” said Reeder. “Students have drawn pictures, worn t-shirts that show the caterpillar life cycle, and even parents and siblings have popped into our morning meetings for a caterpillar update.”

Thanks to Reeder’s innovation, she created an adventure for her students, and a positive virtual learning experience for everyone. Through the recordings, the class will be able to witness the amazing transformation repeatedly.


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