Student Inquiry: October Butterfly Migration

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Students study digital images of butterflies on iPads. Image courtesy of Sydney E. Spann.

Sydney E. Spann, Kindergarten Teacher and Innovation Coach at Rodriguez Elementary, was one of many teachers who submitted a story connecting the NAEYC/Fred Rogers Center’s joint position statement on Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Program to practice. She shares a reflection on her students’inquiry supported with appropriate technology integration.

Early in October, we were working hard to learn all about Fall though it was still too early to see many of the indicators of the season change here in Central Texas. One marker of the season that my students were able to observe was butterfly migration. Swarms of butterflies were migrating through Texas and we were lucky enough to walk under a cloud of monarchs on our way inside from recess. We immediately looked at pictures online of the area in Michoacan, Mexico where many of these butterflies would end their journey. Then I showed my students the Butterflies of Austin iPad app. All the introduction they needed was a quick demonstration of how to change the pictures and they were ready to explore and record! They spent days looking through the photos of butterflies, caterpillars, and pupae and recording the images in their science notebooks.

Student drawing of a caterpillar seen in “Butterflies of Austin” iPad app. Photo Courtesy of Sydney E. Spann.

My students’ interaction with this simple app showed me that the way children interact with technology is not that different from the way they interact with any other learning tool. It’s not flashy features and bright colors that engage them, but simply the fact that there is new knowledge that can be gained.

How has the NAEYC/Fred Rogers Center’s Joint Position Statement on Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs influenced your work?

The joint position statement is a wonderful guide for all early childhood teachers to ensure students are becoming technologically literate in developmentally appropriate ways.

Sydney E Spann

About Sydney Spann

Sydney is a graduate from Texas A&M – Corpus Christi with a BS in Interdisciplinary Studies, Early Childhood. She immediately began teaching Kindergarten at Rodriguez Elementary. Sydney is now in her 4th year of teaching and enjoys structuring her classroom around independent learning centers, mindfulness practices, and developmentally appropriate technology integration.

To learn more about the NAEYC/Fred Rogers Center’s joint position statement on Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs and for more educator examples check out our 5th-anniversary celebration!

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