My daughter and her friends were very excited when their beloved preschool teacher, Ms. Gisella, brought a tank of silk worms to school. She showed the kids how to take care of them and invited the children to touch them gently.
* Special thanks to Ms. Gisella for the thoughtful lesson and for providing the insects for photographing *
Silkworms are native in China. They spin cocoons of fine, strong and lustrous fiber which can be used to produce raw silk. Silkworms are domesticated insects which means they cannot survive in the wild by themselves. The practice of breeding silkworms for silk production has existed for at least 5,000 years in China.
Insect Life Cycle
One of the best ways to learn about something such as an insect is by watching and observing them. In this experiment, we observed silkworms go through its life cycle.
With a few exceptions, all insects’ lives begin as eggs. After leaving the egg, an insect grows and transforms, usually multiple times, until it reaches adulthood. The adult insect then mates, reproduces and creates eggs which start another life cycle.
The physical transformation of an insect from one stage of its life cycle to another is called metamorphosis. There are several types of metamorphosis. In our case, the insect goes through complete metamorphosis in which each stage of its life cycle looks different, has different behavior and lives in a different habitat from the others:
eggs -> larva (silkworm) -> pupa (cocoon) -> adult (silkmoth, Bombyx mori) -> eggs