Dayspring Students Witness the Wonders of Metamorphosis
In Kindergarten at Dayspring, students often talk about “Treasures From God.” These “treasures” are things we find in nature that are beautiful gifts that only God can make and give to us. A caterpillar and butterfly are excellent examples of this. Romans 1:20 declares that “God’s power can be clearly seen through what He has made.” An excellent example of this is the metamorphosis of the monarch butterfly.
The change from a crawling caterpillar to a gracefully airborne butterfly is nothing short of a miracle. In the hidden world of the chrysalis, chemical and structural changes take place that affects every system of the insect: muscular, nervous, respiratory, circulatory, digestive, etc. Programmed into the creature’s DNA are not only the instructions for originally developing a caterpillar within an egg but contained within the creature’s DNA are the instructions to later completely change the body structure for a totally different way of life. Short legs are replaced with longer ones. The digestive system is reworked to go from leaf-munching to nectar sipping. Everything changes! For all of this to occur, much of the body literally turns to mush and the materials reworked into new structures, many of which did not exist at all in the larval form. Breaking out of the chrysalis is a wondrously beautiful creature that testifies to its Creator’s genius.
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Dayspring’s Kindergarten teacher, Donna Osborne, looks for monarch eggs and small caterpillars on milkweed plants in late August. She collects them in clear containers with special lids. These containers are then displayed in the classroom, where the children can see them and watch their progress in the different stages. Students see the monarch eggs hatch into VERY tiny caterpillars and watch as they voraciously eat the milkweed leaves they put in for them. The caterpillars eat and eat and grow and grow until they are ready to hang from the lid in a “j” shape. Students witness the caterpillars miraculously turn into a light green chrysalis. This hangs on the lid for about 2 weeks, until it changes from light green in color to black, and finally turns clear.
When the chrysalis is clear, students can see the orange and black wings. The butterfly will then slowly crawl out of its cocoon, spread its large wings, and begin to walk around. This is when students will take the butterfly outside and release it, usually on a flower. The butterfly will often take off flying immediately. Occasionally, students will watch as the butterfly stays on the flower for a bit, but they can see that the butterfly always knows exactly what to do. Students are always so amazed at God’s design and growth order. His timing is ALWAYS best. Students understand that they cannot “help” the butterfly out, or it will be damaged and unable to fly.
Ninth grade biology students also study metamorphosis alongside the biblical injunction from Romans 12:2 to “not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will” (NIV). Interestingly, the word translated as “transformed” is actually the Greek word metamorphoo, from which we derive the English term “metamorphosis.” So, as Dayspring students learn of the wonders of metamorphosis, they also see it used as an illustration of the changes that take place in the life of a Christian as they are continually transformed by the ongoing study of God’s Word.
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