The children chose to study silkworms (Bombyx mori) for this year’s life cycle project. Prior to their arrival we discussed the silkworm life cycle, using the models, pictured below, to illustrate.
We discovered how silk was made, viewing footage from a silk farm. The children then learned about the Silk Road via the short movie, and further information, featured on Brainpop http://www.brainpop.co.uk/humanities/geographymapsatlasesandglobes/silkroad/
These were some of the books we used:
Life Cycle of a Silkworm
A photo-illustrated, reference book, charting the life cycle of a silkworm.
The Empress and the Silkworm
Tale about the discovery of silk by the Empress Si Ling-Chi. This also links to our thematic unit, Silkworms and Mealworms, which links activities and worksheets based upon the book.
Thematic Unit – Silkworms and Mealworms
Resource containing information, ideas for activities, further reading and reproducible worksheets, covering subjects across the curriculum.
The Silkworm Mystery – The Story of Louis Pasteur
A book for younger readers relating the story of Louis Pasteur’s work with silkworms and investigation into silkworm diseases.
The Running Man
A novel for young adults by Michael Bauer, it examines the relationship between Joseph and his reclusive neighbour, Tom Leyton. Tom is a keeper of silkworms and the silkworm metaphor features frequently and heavily throughout the book.
An accompanying worksheet may be found here http://www.scool.scholastic.com.au/schoolzone/toolkit/running_man_TN.pdf
The eggs are yellow when first laid, they turn a blue/grey colour prior to hatching, at approx 14 days.
Early stage larvae
A silkworm’s preferred food is fresh mulberry leaves. Where these are not readily available an artificial diet may be substituted.
Different stage larvae
We found that the silkworms turned opaque and a slight yellow-shade prior to spinning. They also eliminated any undigested food (known as a gut dump).
As soon as the silkworms started to spin we transferred them to cardboard tubes.
The moths emerge approx 2-3 weeks later