F3 has caught four grasshoppers over the last few days. One, we suffocated in a jar with alcohol and pinned to some cardboard. We still need to determine what kind of grasshopper it is so we can label it. The other three were kept as pets. Yes, this child is in serious need of a pet. If only her father would agree…Last night, we observed one of them eating the grass that she put in there for food for them. This is her story of catching the first one (edited only to change names):

F4 and I were walking, then we stopped. We had seen a grasshopper. It was just standing there, flicking the occacional ants that went near it. I told F4, “you are not allowed outside alone. So I have to stay outside, while you go get the clear blue box.” F4 went of to get it, while I stayed. The grasshopper just sat, and it seemed he did not notice me, though occacionaly he looked at me. Then F4 came back with the box. I plopped it over the grasshopper effortlessly. There were ants in there, so I figured if he had to stay in there long, he would have food. The ants could get in and out easily, too. But then I remembered that, grasshoppers don’t eat bugs. They eat plants. So I hoped he woulden’t have to stay there awhile. I finaly caught him with a jar. He put his front legs up on the walls that surrounded him. There was a small wipe peice of alchohol in his jar. I felt horible trying to suffocate him!

F1 also caught two butterflies. The first was a Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, but its wings were so damaged, we didn’t keep it. The second was what we thought initially was a Viceroy. After gassing it with an alcohol swab and laying it out to dry, we realized that it was a Monarch. F3 compared it to the pictures in our Audubon Society Field Guide to Insects and made the discovery! That was an exciting event. F1 pinned it to a piece of styrofoam and wrote out a short, very scientific description of the specimen.

I find it very enjoyable to compare the two personalities of these children. They are both highly intelligent and motivated to learn. What they enjoy learning about and the details that catch their interests, however, are completely different. F3 loves the story – the incorporation of all the senses, thoughts, and feelings behind the events and people she tells about. F1 likes the details to be short and sweet – how few words can he use to get the pertinent information across.