Beth Shalom Early Learning Center

Early Childhood Education

The Science of Butterflies and Moths

Hi -

This week in Science, we compared and contrasted butterflies and moths.

First, we reviewed our caterpillar lesson from a few weeks ago. We picked out the two types we observed in class. (top left and bottom right)

Then we compared ourselves with an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail butterfly.

For example, we each have two eyes, two legs, no wings, use our nose for smelling and our tongue for tasting.

A butterfly has two eyes, six legs, four wings, smells with its antennae and tastes with its feet.

I was the only one in the room that had ‘real’ antennas.

A butterfly also has a ‘proboscis’ – a sort of tongue / straw that it uses to drink nectar. The proboscis is curled up under the insect’s face:

Here’s mine:

Next we took a look at a Cecropia moth.

Again – two eyes, six legs, four wings, smells with its antennae and tastes with its feet.

…but the moth’s antennas don’t look at all like the butterfly’s.

How can we tell if a creature is a butterfly or a moth? We learned four differences between them.

(Note to email readers: There are hundreds of butterflies and thousands of moths in North America alone. The following distinctions are generally true, but many exceptions exist.)
1) Antennas

Butterfly antennas have balls at the ends.

We could see the balls on the ends of the Pearl Crescent’s antennas:

Moth antennas are feathery.

Check out thisCecropia moth’s antennas!

2) Day or Night

Butterflies generally fly during the day.

Moths generally fly at night.

3) Wings at rest

Butterflies rest with their wings held upright. We tried doing that. It’s not very comfortable.

Moths rest with their wings folded over their backs

or stretched out flat.

4) Chrysalis or cocoon

Moth and butterfly caterpillars both hatch out of eggs, and their life cycles are very similar with one exception.

Before a caterpillar turns into a butterfly, it forms a chrysalis. A moth spins a cocoon.

Note: The Very Hungry Caterpillar book:


as cute as it is, is wrong on this point. Butterflies do not come out of cocoons – so either the cocoon in the story should be a chrysalis or the beautiful butterfly is really a beautiful moth.

Finally, we got a chance to compare a real cocoon and chrysalis.

A few weeks ago we observed some Milkweed Tussock Moth caterpillars at school. They looked like this:

The cocoon we looked at todaywas made by a Milkweed Tussock Moth caterpillar.

A few weeks ago we also observed a Monarch butterfly caterpillar. It looked like this:

A week later, when it was much larger, it climbed up the side of the jar and formed a chrysalis. We got to see the chrysalis in class today.

I’m hoping that a butterfly will emerge sometime next week.

Before we finished class, we also took a look at an old chrysalis – this is what is left after the butterfly emerges:


See you next week,

Morah Elaine

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Sign-Up for Elul Meditation Emails


We are currently in the Hebrew month of Elul!
Elul is the Hebrew month that immediately precedes Rosh Hashanah (whose date is Tishrei 1, the beginning of the next month).
The month of Elul has traditionally been a time for spiritual preparation.  A time to begin thinking about the themes and issues we will address together at Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services.
If you would like to sign-up to receive the Elul Mediations, fill out the form below.  (If you are a member of the congregation you are already receiving the emails.) Rabbi Amy Levin will send you an “Elul Meditation” for each day of the coming month of Elul (except, of course, for Shabbat).  Some will be longer, some will be shorter.  Some will be more traditional, some may be a bit unexpected.
Rabbi Levin says, “I hope you’ll enjoy reading them and I hope they’ll help get your spiritual juices flowing before we even meet for our Days of Awe. “

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Bird Beak Science

Hi -
This week in Science, in honor of the letter ‘B,’ we learned about bird beaks.

First, we did the following activity:

We sat in groups of 4-5 around plates. Everyone got an empty blue container and a tool (either a spoon, clothespin, tweezers or tongs).

Then we had to use our tools to pick up sponges, straws, packing peanuts, and rocks off of the plates and put them in our containers. No hands allowed!

When we had picked everything off the plates,

we sorted our collected items onto graphing mats:

It turned out that the children with the tweezers or the tongs picked up the greatest number of items and the children who had the clothespins and spoons picked up the fewest.

Next, we read a book about beaks that explained that different types of birds have different types of beaks that are good for eating different types of food.

We tried making our arms into flamingo heads. They eat with their beaks upside-down!

We also made our fingers into crossbeak bills. They use their beaks to pry open pinecones.

Then, everyone got a picture of a bird.

We looked carefully at the beaks on our birds.

We matched the pictures with the type of food the birds eat.

They are all birds, but they have very different beaks to eat very different things!

Last, we reviewed our first activity – and matched our beaks with the ones in the pictures. (spoon = spoonbill, etc.)

The shape of each tool made it easier or more difficult to pick up each type of object – just like the shape of a bird’s beak makes it easier or more difficult to pick up different types of food.

Great job everybody!

See you next week,


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2015 poster small

Shababababa info sheet

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World Travelers- Part 2!

This summer we have been traveling around the world!  Our first three countries were Italy, South Africa, and Israel. (Click here to read about those weeks). Our next three countries were Russia, India, and China.


When we visited Russia, Morah Marina was our special teacher. She taught us Russian Words, about different kinds of Russian Food, and taught us special Russian Dances. She also told us Pushkin’s Folk Tale: The Fisherman and the Goldfish. Also thank you to Morah Nataly who brought in Russian Nesting Dolls and other fun items.

photo 3 (5)



After Russia we traveled to India. Ms. Sandhya brought in Saris and other items from India and Milo’s grandfather read us Monkey: A Trickster Tale from India. We played with different spices, made Naan pizza, and made rangoli.


Then last week we went to China. Ms. Yann came in and made dragons with us and Ms. Diane danced with us and also taught us numbers in Chinese. We used different media to make Chinese symbols and also practiced using chopsticks!




This week we are traveling to Australia and next week to Brazil. We’ve been great travelers!

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We Know The Months Of The Year!

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World Travelers!

We have had a great first three weeks of camp. We visited Italy, South Africa, and Israel.


The week we went to Italy we had a special visitor-Ms. Michele. She taught us colors and numbers in Italian. We also made bagel pizzas, found Italy on a map, and did a pasta shape match.

photo (22).

The next week we traveled to South Africa. Hannah who is friends with one of our students came and helped us find South Africa on the map. She also brought the South African flag and some different crafts. We went on an African Safari through our building, made binoculars, and identified animals.




This week we traveled to Israel! We made chocolate balls, did Hebrew letter yoga, Israeli Dancing, and a Hamsa Craft. We had a lot of visitors including Morah Chen who did many projects with us!



See you next week as we travel to Russia with Morah Marina!


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Join Us For Shababababa!

shababa pic

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Dairy Science

Hi -

This week, with Shavuot coming up, we learned about Dairy Science.

We knew that dairy foods are made with milk and that milk comes from cows.

Everyone in the class agreed that cows are black and white. While it is true that some cows are black and white, like these Holsteins (the most common type of dairy cattle in the United States),

not all cattle are black and white. Some are brown and white and some are all white, all brown or all black.

No matter what color the cow is, they all produce white milk.

Note: When it comes to cattle, a baby boy or girl is called a calf, a mommy is called a cow, a ‘teenage’ girl that isn’t a mommy yet is called a heifer, and a boy / daddy is called a bull.

This week we did two activities in class. The first was to make butter. We poured some heavy cream into a container,

added a marble,

and screwed on the lid.

We put that aside for a minute, to introduce Activity Number Two.

Can cows fly? No. Can cows sting you? No. Can cows bite you? Yes – but, they only have bottom teeth, so they sort of bite/gum. We tried that:

Then we had a big surprise!

A Holstein came to visit our class!

We named her Supercow.

After we learned proper milking technique…

which included getting squirted…

everyone had a chance to milk Supercow.

As we took turns milking, we also took turns shaking the cream. We shook..and shook…and shook…and shook.

and shook the container until we couldn’t hear the marble rolling around inside it anymore.

By the time everyone was finished milking the cow, the butter was ready…

and so was lunch. :) Perfect timing!

See you in two weeks -

Chag sameach,

Morah Elaine

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Around the World in 40 Days

flyer pic

This summer we are going “Around the World in 40 Days.” Each week we will visit a new country. On our list: Italy, South Africa, Israel, Russia, India, China, Australia, and Brazil. For the different countries we will learn about food, clothing, customs, games, songs, and art. It is also a unique opportunity to have parents in our center who are familiar with these different countries to come and share with our children. It is a great opportunity for our children to experience different cultures right here at Beth Shalom.


At this age it is important for young minds to expand and to think about other cultures. By learning about others we begin to learn about not just differences but similarities. In an increasingly globalized society we have more associations across continents and in our neighborhoods. This summer we will take the opportunity to begin to open these doors and see these connections.


We already have some amazing volunteers who have agreed to help teach us about different countries. We will be making pasta and learning Italian letters with Ms. Michele. Ms. Yann will be helping us make dragons for China week, and Ms. Sandhya is going to help us do Rangoli for India week! Morah Marina is going to do Russian dancing with us and Lynn Berman is going to teach us Israeli dancing.


This is just part of our exciting summer. Of course we will end the same as we have for the past few with a petting zoo.


We are looking forward to traveling around the world with you. Thank you for all of our volunteers and if you have any suggestions for the summer or would like to volunteer, don’t hesitate to contact Kara.

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