Thursday, January 29, 2015

Beetle Brownies Anyone?

Photo Credit: miss bake-a-lot via Compfight cc

The Background:  At the first of the school year, we always do some mealworm experiments as part of the 5th grade science core.  I let each of the kids take home a mealworm to watch it change into a beetle. This year, we kept the extra mealworms in our classroom to observe their life cycle.  One of my traditional "tricks" on the kids is to make beetle brownies after the mealworms have changed to black beetles. But, they still haven't changed into beetles.

My school switched to a year-round schedule this year.  I'm on A-track which means that we not only had the holiday break, but we had an extra three weeks because of being off-track. During the off-track time, my kids were online in @edmodo communicating with me and participating in some activities. It was great, as a teacher, to have a line of communication with my students while they were on vacation.  I thought it was the perfect opportunity to set the kids up for a little joke. I knew that coming back to school after a long vacation would be hard for most of them.  I wanted my students to come back to school excited!

The Hook: Last Saturday,  I told them that the mealworms were changing into beetles (truth). They ARE changing- very slowly! I didn't say that they had changed. The kids were excited about the mealworms changing into beetles as well as all of the other changes happening in our classroom. Many of them couldn't wait to come to school on Monday.  Success! My students returned to school this last Monday, January 26 excited and ready to learn.

To celebrate the new year, and for being active online over their break, I gave them a brownie.  Everyone ate with gusto! They told me how delicious the brownies were as they licked their fingers and smacked their lips. I smiled and then read them a little excerpt from the book, Beetles, Lightly Toasted by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. It was hard not to laugh as a read about a young boy that added beetles into a brownie mix for a school science project and watched as his friends ate the brownies.

As I read, I could see my kids' eyes get bigger as they looked around the room at each other. "Would Ms. King really give us brownies with beetles in them?" They looked at where we kept the mealworms. They were gone! Happy faces changed into sheer looks of horror. "Had they just eaten beetles?" Some kids took their napkin and started to wipe off their tongue. I smiled and kept reading.

When I finished reading, there were a lot laughs, and questions! There were also a lot of kids that wanted to read the whole book. I just happened to have about 15 copies available.

Now, did I really add beetles to the brownies? You'll just have to read the book!

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