5B’s Roly-Poly Inquiry

5B’s Roly-Poly Inquiry

kids finding roly polies at daycare
roly polies on child's hands at daycare
roly polies on a leaf at preschool

The children’s interest in roly-polies began when a few friends noticed them on our cement path. As the days passed, more friends noticed them and they would move them to the grass so they wouldn’t get stepped on. This continued on, so we decided to bring roly-polies inside so we could observe, play and learn more about them. Before we brought them in we made a KWL chart to determine what the children knew and wondered about roly-polies. Then we read a few books that explained what kind of habitat they lived in, we went on our own create a roly-poly habitat adventure and found leaves, sticks, and pieces of cement for our habitats. We helped to scoop, pour and put it all together. Lastly, we went looking for roly-polies and put them in our habitat. After, Ms Sonya and Ms Margaret scaffolded the children’s learning by providing visuals, books and hands on activities that encouraged the children to observe, question, draw and create their own individual and collaborative pieces of roly-poly art.

boy finding roly poly at daycare play area
girl searching for roly polies at preschool
young girl keeping roly polies wet at daycare
girl coloring roly poly art at daycare
girl with clay model of roly poly at daycare
boy creating roly poly art at preschool
group of girls coloring at preschool in colorado
kids creating model of roly polies at daycare

These are the books we read:

moly moly roly poly
hank's big day. the story of a bug
pillbugs book
i'm a pill bug
a pill bug's life

There’s lots of interesting stuff to learn about roly-polies. During our observations and reading, we discovered that:

  • They have a lot of different names. We call them roly-polies, but they are also called pill bugs, potato bugs, and wood lice.
  • Roly-polies aren’t bugs at all; they’re crustaceans and have gills! Their outer shell looks a lot like their relatives, crabs, lobsters and shrimp.
  • When they get scared, roly-polies curl up in a ball to protect themselves.
  • They like to live in dark places, so if you bring them inside, put them in a dark area.
  • Roly-polies shed their exoskeleton and eat it.
  • Roly-polies turn bright blue when they’re sick. We didn’t see this first hand, but have seen blue roly-polies at school and wanted to know what caused the color change.
  • They need food, water and copper. Damp leaves, sticks and bits of concrete rocks worked during our observations. They will eat leaves and pieces of apples, potatoes or carrots.
  • Roly-polies are great decomposers. They feed on dead plant matter, then return nutrients to the soil when they poop.
  • Roly-poly mom’s keep their eggs in a pouch until they hatch.

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