Friday, May 1, 2015

Queen Alexandra's Sulphur Butterflies - Unschooling Science Strikes Again

While we were out trying to get a peek at the baby ground squirrels, the kids noticed the small butterflies, that I had been calling cabbage whites, didn't look as white as the ones we're used to seeing.  In fact, they looked to be more of a florescent yellow-green.

Naturally, we had to take a closer look.

And happily for us, a couple of the little guys were good enough to fly in and land on a dandelion for just long enough for us to sneak up, and get a few good pictures... label, like with the honey bee.

...and identify, with the help of the Montana Field Guide...

...after a short detour to for a review of animal classification (you have to have a subscription to view the BrainPop video, but you can find the simpler BrainPop Jr. video on animal classification, here, on YouTube).  I'm not trying to sell you on a subscription service, BrainPop just happens to be our go-to site for easy to digest bits of information, and in this case was great help as we navigated through the Montana Field Guide:
  • from Kingdom - Animals - Animalia
    • to Phylum - Insects, Springtails, Millipedes - Mandibulata
      • on to Class - Insects - Insecta
        • and Order - Butterflies / Moths - Lepidoptera
          • and Family - Orange-tip / White / Sulphur Butterflies - Pieridae
            • and finally to Species - which turned out to be a Queen Alexandra's Sulphur - Colias alexandra rather than a Cabbage White - Pieris rapae - same family, but different butterfly.

A little more research revealed some interesting facts about this particular butterfly, that led us on another adventure involving a homemade butterfly net, a fish bowl, and a UV flashlight, that I hope to tell you all about...


It's great to be a homeschooler.


claireshomeeducation said...

Looking forward to hearing more. I love how you take a picture and label that. I shall have to start doing that as it is much more helpful than labeling diagrams.

Phyllis said...

I am enjoying all the nature study you have been doing lately.

Ticia said...

What an interesting looking butterfly.

MaryAnne said...

I'm impressed you were able to get close enough for those photos!