What you need:
- Two 1-liter plastic soda bottles (one must be clear)
- Piece of cheesecloth (6" x 6"; a piece of panty hose will also work)
- Chart paper
What to do:
- To prepare the bottles: Cut off the top of one of the bottles and remove the bottom of the other. (You can soak a bottle in warm water for 10 minutes and then pull off the bottom.) Punch 10 to 12 holes in the bottom that you removed.
- Cut a piece of cheesecloth to fit across the opening of the bottle from which you removed the top. Tape it in place. This will give the caterpillar a place to attach itself.
- Ask your child to prepare the caterpillar habitat by adding food and twigs to the bottle. She could also add leaves and flowers.
- Place the caterpillar inside its new home. Use the bottom of the second bottle (with the holes in it) as a lid. Air can get in through the holes and the cheesecloth, but the caterpillar can't get out.
- Observe the caterpillar daily. Encourage your child to record her observations on the chart paper.
- After the caterpillar has formed a chrysalis, your child can remove the food source.
- Once the butterfly has emerged, give it a few hours to dry its wings, and then set it free!
From A Year of Hands-on Science by Lynne Kepler
(Scholastic Professional Books)