Saturday, February 16, 2008

Education at Work: The Ladybird Beetle

The Ladybug Land

My daughter and I have been studying the ladybug (Coleomegilla maculata) for a science project at my school. I am in the midst of learning how to teach science to students. That is to say, that my professors want me to be able to help the students discover science, rather than just sit through lectures, fill our worksheets, label drawings and take tests. The hope is that students actually learn science through investigation – inquiry – which helps them internalize and remember the information for years to come.

A look at the pupal stage (left) and the larva stage (right).
The larva is preparing to pupate.

So rather than just see pictures of ladybugs, we have a Ladybug Land full of adults. They were not always adults. When they arrived, I have a host of little ladybug larvae running around. Because of the cold, most of them died in transport. Six larva made it to pupa stage, but only five adults emerged. We have studied their lifecycle, ran a light/dark experiment, collected data, made inferences and predictions, and documented our results.

Ladybugs mating (we think).

It’s been a lot of fun. I kept them on my desk, where I do my homework and blogging, so I would be sure to pay attention to them. Indeed, I logged almost three times the journal entries that were necessary. Because of it, I have witnessed them turning from larva to pupa and then witnessed the emergence from pupa to adult. It has been very cool, very rewarding, and very worthwhile. We were especially interested in their mating habits. We saw, what we believe to be, their mating ritual. It lasted for days – the dirty little rascals can flat “do it.”

Another pic of them "doing it".

The written report was 21 pages long and includes daily entries, KWL chart, data tables, observations, inferences, measurements, predictions, photos, and research. I worked on it along the way and it still took me hours to prepare. It was a lot of work, but in the end I think it was worth it. We learned a lot about ladybugs and science education.

By the way, that macro setting on my little digital camera came in very handy when taking pictures of these little "ladies". (There are both male and female ladybugs.)


Jason said...

I can't believe you posted bug porn.

majc forever said...


Almost every year since building our house (in 94/95) we have been "invaded" by these little creatures in the late fall. You know the colder weather is setting in when they start moving into our house. Some years there are more than others and I find it very interesting how they are always there. Any opinions on this?

BTW we leave them alone and let them be. Most of the time they stay up in the ceiling and other warm spots. When they end their life cycle we sweep them up when vaccuming and that's about it.

Oh yeah one other thing, when they enter the house late fall, sometimes you can see them swarming around our west side door (door we use the most) to get in but I can't say the same thing for when they leave.

Anywho just thought I would share the info and see what you thought.

Angie from church