Calvary Day School

Coastal Empire Montessori 2018 - 19


In 4th and 5th grade, we discussed the negative effect that  human encroachment and suburban development have had on the Monarch population. Every year, fewer and fewer Monarch butterflies make the long migration to and  from Canada to Mexico. This is because they rely heavily on the milkweed plant, as it is the only plant that their caterpillars eat and so the only plant that they can lay their eggs on. With deforestation and suburban sprawl, there is less milkweed readily available to them than in years past. One way that we could help is to plant some milkweed on our school’s campus and to spread the word about this simple way that everyday people could help out the Monarchs.

Our schools’ Garden Club actually built a new garden bed for us and a local nursery agreed to donate flowering plants and milkweed so that we could create a beautiful Butterfly Garden on campus.  We then decorated our garden with sculptures made from recycled materials donated by local families and businesses.

 It is our plan in the near future to meet all of the requirements to turn our  garden into an “official butterfly waystation” recognized by the Monarch Watch Program.


First Grade students and I discussed the impacts that humans have on the environment, specifically the oceans. We discussed and then illustrated as a class the “life cycle” of a can or bottle that is thrown away and how inevitably, it will end up in the ocean. I showed them pictures/videos of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. We shared our own experiences with finding garbage on Tybee beach (or other beaches) when we visit there. We then connected our discussion with the story of “Sid the Homeless Hermit Crab” by Stacey Marie Johnston and discussed the negative effects littering has on Hermit Crabs in particular.


The book is about a Hermit Crab that needs to move into a bigger shell, but is having trouble finding one because there is so much trash littering the ocean floor, hiding the real shells from view. Sid gets confused and tries on the “strange shells” (trash) but none of them work right. It is important that Hermit Crabs have shells because they act like armor and protect them from predators.  After reading the book, we identified the problem and then listed ways that we could help the Hermit Crabs. Cleaning up our beaches and recycling what we can, would not only help the Hermit Crabs find their homes (shells) but it would also keep our oceans and world clean and healthy! We also discussed how another way to help the Hermit Crabs is to not take their shells from the beach. If we all take home the nice, big shells that we find then the little Hermit Crabs will have nothing to grow into. They will have to go naked!

To represent what we have learned about how littering affects the lives of Hermit Crabs, we created sculptures (partially out of air dry clay and partially out of recycled materials) that show how Hermit Crabs get confused by the “strange shells” that we leave behind on the beach. Students were asked to bring in a can or bottle of some sort from home to be recycled into their artwork, to be used as the crab’s shell. The crab itself, they sculpted out of air dry clay.

nature butterflies - kindergarten

In Kindergarten, we studied symmetry and looked for examples of symmetry occurring in nature. We listed examples of nature's “artwork” in both the spots and patterns found on creatures as well as in trees and flowers. Specifically, we discussed how the butterfly is an excellent example of natural symmetry.

We then went outside and collected fallen leaves, twigs, blades of grass, flower petals, stones, etc, that we found beautiful or displayed symmetry. We made sure to collect  two of every kind. Back in the classroom, students arranged their natural materials in a symmetrical design, reminiscent of a butterfly’s wings. (A stencil was available for those who needed it). With guidance from the teacher, as well as older 5th grade helpers, students pasted their materials onto painted cardboard to be displayed.

© 2019 by Team ISCAP. Created with Care and Dedication.