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Locating Lost Ladybugs.

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Keywords: biodiversity, habitats, Collecting ladybugs, Life Science
Subject(s): Reading, Writing, Life Science, Photography, English/Language Arts, Grammar, Science
Grades 1 through 4
School: Shannon Forest Christian Sch, Greenville, SC
Planned By: Elizabeth Gordon
Original Author: Elizabeth Gordon, Greenville
The students will gather background information on ladybugs by consulting printed materials and the internet. They will inspect the different parts of the ladybug structure. In addition, they will explore the misconceptions of the ladybug (i.e. lady bugs are beetles). They will observe the different markings on the ladybugs by consulting the ladybug database which can accessed via internet on the Cornell University website. Before going in the field, the students will also explore the concept of biodiversity. They will speculate as to role of the ladybug in nature and what consequences could occur if this insect's population were diminished. Many hands-on activities encouraging this concept may be found on following website: lostladybug.org.

After the students examine their research, they will make sweep nets. The grounds surrounding our school have many meadows and will be excellent for collecting many types of insects. Once ladybugs have been collected, students will draw a picture of it in their laboratory notebook. Beside the picture, they will describe the habit/area where they found the ladybug. Also,the student will record other data (times and dates of collection, and outside temperatures) as well in their notebooks beside their illustration. Ladybugs that can be captured will be cooled (cooling them in a freezer for less than 5 minutes will slow them down and not kill them). Once cooled, they will be placed on a gray background to be photographed. After the ladybugs have been released, the students will input their data into Lost Ladybug database which will be accessed through the website mentioned above. Student will be encourage to locate and identify ladybugs at locations outside the school is well. If they are able to obtain the data required for the website, then we will include their discoveries into our classroom tally.

We are trying to incorporate a hands-on laboratory into our elementary school. At this time, we have very little equipment to do so. We would appreciate any supplies that could be donated in order to produce more future scientists.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
We plan to read any literature that involves the ladybug. Geographical origins of many types of lady bugs will be researched. We will attempt trace how some ladybugs arrived into the United States from other countries and continents. Also, we plan to hypothesize/explore why the populations of ladybugs has diminished over the years.
The Ladybug Project will be an on- going project for one of our elementary grades. The other grades will be investigating other insects that are common in our school property. We eventually would like to take these projects to a microscopic level where the students can visualize even smaller details of the creatures that they have collected.
Materials: Wildlife, Digital Cameras, Mobile Labs, Whiteboards, Point and Shoot, Microscopes, Camera Bags, Flash/USB Drives, Reading, Literacy, Writing, Elementary