Sunday, September 5, 2010

MAD Lessons Go To School

Cicada Tree Eco-Place is proud and excited to bring our MAD lessons to schools!

Our first school was First Toa Payoh Primary School where we shared the wonder and beauty of butterflies and moths with 150 pupils of Primary 2 in May. Run for 5 classes over 5 days, our lessons covered butterfly and moth characteristics, diversity and ecology.

We brought live caterpillars and pupae to class. The kids were lucky to observe the stages of a butterfly life-cycle and participate in the release of newly emerged plain tiger butterflies at their school assembly yard.

Besides live butterfly and moth caterpillars, we also brought preserved specimens of butterflies and moths to show the kids.

The lesson ended with art and craft where the kids made colourful atlas moth wall-hangings which later decorated their classrooms and corridors.

Reflections from the kids were heartwarming. Here is one: “I hereby pledge that I will build a garden for the beautiful butterflies and moths to suck up the nectar from flowers to flowers.”

We hope to bring our MAD lessons to more schools soon. To register, write to Celine Low at

Pupils and their teacher, Ms Lee, look in awe at newly emerged plain tiger butterflies in the terrarium

What furry yellow caterpillars are those?

The kids proudly showcasing their atlas moth art & craft

The kids looking at a preserved atlas moth specimen

Uncle Andrew teaching the class

A moth wall-hanging and a pledge card

Ms Lee releases a newly emerged butterfly, much to the pleasure of everyone around!

Bat lessons!

False Vampire Bat
Photo by Nick Baker

The month of September was dedicated to one of our favourite mammals, bats!

Bats are awesome flying mammals. Bats are important to humans as they help pollinate plants which in turn produce fruit for us. Bats which eat insects help control our insect-pest numbers, while bats which eat fruit help disperse seeds and hence help us grow forests.

In this lesson, kids were grouped according to three types of native bats found in Singapore - common fruit bat, cave nectar bat and false vampire bat. Each group presented about their special bat once they were familiar with them-- where they lived, what they ate, and why we should protect them.

Later, Uncle Andrew, Auntie Irene and Auntie Teresa took everyone out into the garden for a bat roost and bat food hunt. Although we didn't find any bats roosting under the huge leaves of the Chinese Fan Palms at the Children's Garden, kids got to see a make-belief tent roost which Uncle Andrew simulated in class, by showing everyone how fruit bats bite through palm leaves causing them to droop all around them hence providing shelter from rain and strong sun. Uncle Andrew even made make-belief bats out of African Tulip seed pods to make the classroom tent roost look real!

Last but not least, everyone made a bat wall-hanging to bring back home.

Fruit bats presenting

Vampires presenting

Bats are cute and some live in caves

Bats are nocturnal and hang upside down while resting

Bananas are a favourite meal of fruit bats

Our make-belief classroom tent roost

Uncle Andrew teaching us about parts of a bat