A fourth grade class at Pella Christian Grade School is in the middle of an experiment that mimics one currently taking place thousands of miles away in space. Just as scientists are doing on the International Space Station, the students are monitoring the growth of caterpillars and their eventual metamorphosis into butterflies. The class, taught by Brenda Nugteren, received their monarch caterpillars at the same stage and time as the ones in space and have been comparing their growth to images from the Space Station that are posted online. Nugteren says the observation has been a great opportunity for students.
“This has just been a great experiment because, to think how they [caterpillars] change from one creature to another one that seems so totally different is just so amazing, and this is just a wonderful opportunity for us,” said Nugteren.
The space shuttle carrying the caterpillars went up on November 16th and the process from growth to emergence as a butterfly is expected to be complete sometime around next weekend. To learn more about the experiment, visit the websites listed below.