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Last spring we had the opportunity to raise silkworms for the second time. We brought them home when they were silkworms, and we cared for them until they turned into silkworm moths that mated, laid eggs, and eventually died. (See this post and this post to learn more about our experience raising silkworms.)
When we brought our silkworms home, they were tiny little things. From experience I knew they would grow quite a bit during their time in our care, and I decided to use their growth as a way to help my kids practice some basic math skills.
I believe math is best taught in context so that it is relevant to kids, and this activity certainly achieved that objective!
Note: Find more resources for learning about insects on my Insect Unit Study page.
We were fortunate to get about 13 silkworms to raise. They were all young and small, although there were some differences in size.
We selected one of the smallest silkworms to measure. I helped my kids lay a string next to the silkworm and then cut the string to represent the silkworm’s length.
Once we had our cut string, we used a ruler to determine how long it was. We then recorded our measurement on a sheet of paper.
A few days later, the silkworms had grown, so we took another silkworm and measured again.
It had already grown nearly half an inch!
We continued to measure our silkworms every week or so until the last one had spun its cocoon. We ended up with a total of four measurements. We displayed the strings and measurements as shown below, which gave my kids a very visual picture how our silkworms had grown.
This was a wonderful insect math activity that could be used for kids from preschool through 3rd grade!
More insect learning resources
Insect printables from Gift of Curiosity:
- Insects Printables Pack
- Insects Do-a-Dot Printables
- Insects Anatomy Game
- Insects Grid Games
- Ant Printables Pack
- Ant 3-Part Cards
- Ant Do-a-Dot Printables
- Ladybug Do-a-Dot Printables
- Bee Do-a-Dot Printables
- Bee Sudoku
- Butterfly Do-a-Dot Printables