Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Raising Silkworms 
by Marie Faust Evitt
Mountain View Parent Nursery School
Mountain View, California.

Silkworms provide an easy way for children to see a complete life cycle in about 10 weeks. The preschool where I teach raises silkworms every spring. 

We hatch silkworms from eggs our silk moths had laid the previous year. It takes about two to three weeks for the eggs to hatch after we take them out of the refrigerator where we had stored them.

The silkworms look like tiny black threads when they hatch. The silkworms grow fast on a diet of mulberry leaves. Fortunately we have a mulberry tree in our school yard.

After a couple weeks, the silkworms are big and hardy enough for the children to handle gently.

About a month after hatching the silkworms are ready to spin cocoons.

After three weeks in their cocoons, the silk moth emerge. They can't fly and they don't eat or drink. They live for about three to five days during which time they mate.

They mate for about a day.
The female then lays eggs and the male looks for another mate. We let the eggs sit for a few days then put them in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator and save them until the following spring.

Check this site for details about raising silkworms and links for buying eggs and artificial food.

1 comment:

  1. I remember doing this as a grade one child. We kids bought in our silkworms so everyone could see them and we kept them at school where the teacher could give us the language that explained the observations we were making. Providing connection with nature helps build a pictorial memory that can be retrieved when reading and develops analogies the child can draw on in their literacy and communication skills.